The Vietnamese government and international partners will mobilise all resources to overcome the consequences of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the war, according to Don Tuan Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO).
He noted that many organisations had joined Vietnam in the endeavour over the past 20 years, contributing 10-15 million USD every year.
The organisations also assisted the country in drawing charts of areas polluted by UXOs as well as building a database on bombs, mines and other ordnance, he added.
We were going through folders tonight looking for a set of pix for a story in works, and tripped over this memory, of a Syrian friend who had stepped away from the car for a few minutes and came walking back with a pair of unexploded submunitions he had found in a ditch.
No matter how emphatically we asked him to put them down, he just kept walking around with them. Finally, slightly amused, he heaved back and threw them, baseball-style, one by one, toward those shrubs you can see over his right shoulder.
This is a too-common behavior in Syria.
Never handle unexploded ordnance. Leave it alone, mark the area near it, warn others of its presence and notify the authorities, an NGO or a professional who can evaluate next steps.
Produced by MAG (Mines Advisory Group) in conjunction with the UN Mine Action Service, UNICEF and other Mine Action implementing agencies, the film is currently being played in refugee camps in Iraq, with plans to target other conflict-affected Syrians through broadcast on media outlets in the region.
"UXO" is short for "unexploded ordnance" — explosive weapons such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used, and that still pose a risk of detonation.
The SiN-VAPOR sensor is placed in a device to identify chemical compounds. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Jamie Hartman)
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are homemade bombs that can both injure and kill civilians and service members. For the Department of Defense, one solution to the problem of IEDs is to find them before they explode by detecting the chemicals used in the explosives. Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed a technology, using silicon to fabricate a sensor that may revolutionize the way trace chemical detection is conducted.
The sensor, called Silicon Nanowires in a Vertical Array with a Porous Electrode, or SiN-VAPOR, is a small, portable, lightweight, low power, low overhead sensor that NRL researchers hope can be distributed to warfighters in the field and to security personnel at airports across the globe.
SiN-VAPOR is an example of nanotechnology. “Nanoscale is 1x10-9 meters,” explains Dr. Christopher Field, the NRL scientist leading this research. “So, let’s assume that the diameter of a human hair is 100 microns. If you can take the diameter of a human hair, cut it, and look at the cross section area. We can fit a million of our nanowires in the cross section area of a single human hair.”
Government operations against rebels continue, despite peace talks.
Some 21,155 bombs have been planted on roads, bridges and in schools in Colombia this year, it’s reported.
And they’re just the ones its army has found. The figures - contained in a summary of the country’s military operations - showed how “thousands of lives were put at risk” by rebel groups, according to the Cali-based El Pais newspaper. It said the military seized 509 assault weapons, 474 revolvers and 391 pistols, as well as decommissioning 172 mortars and 23 rocket-propelled grenades.
The Children Experiment (9:45) is a short documentary investigation in which replicas of cluster bomblets are placed in Virginia playgrounds as surveillance cameras secretly record the reaction of local children. Around the world, children are tragically attracted to these kinds of small, unexploded bombs — do American children possess the same impulse?
Employing a mix of interventionist art, ethnography, and reportage, The Children Experiment explores the relationship between cluster bombs, children, and western complicity with immoral weaponry. While the U.S. traditionally produces and sells the bulk of the world’s cluster munitions weapons that result in alarmingly high casualty rates for children and other civilians — few Americans know or care. Would this be the case if it were American children at risk?
RAINY SEASON is an intimate story about a family’s unexpected change of fate, set in the larger context of post-war Vietnam. A rubber tree-farming family in central Vietnam comes to grips with life after their youngest son finds a leftover American mortar while searching for grasshoppers. With unprecedented access and shot over five years, RAINY SEASON captures the land’s sumptuous beauty and reveals the far-reaching sorrow that it harbors.
A Sandia engineer who trained U.S. soldiers to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has developed a fertilizer that helps plants grow but can’t detonate a bomb. It’s an alternative to ammonium nitrate, an agricultural staple that is also the raw ingredient in most of the IEDs in Afghanistan.
Sandia has decided not to patent or license the formula, but to make it freely available in hopes of saving lives.
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is illegal in Afghanistan but legal in neighboring Pakistan, where a quarter of the gross domestic product and half the workforce depend on agriculture. When mixed with a fuel such as diesel, ammonium nitrate is highly explosive. It was used in about 65 percent of the 16,300 homemade bombs in Afghanistan in 2012, according to government reports. There were 9,300 IED events in the country in 2009.