May 27, 2020

Quang Binh province, 26 May 2020 – Findings from a recent rapid assessment shows that food, masks and hand sanitizer are top three needs of UXO survivors in COVID-19 response. As an immediate response to the needs, today Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Mr. Han Deog Cho, Country Director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) presented in Quang Binh province today packages of food, masks and hand sanitizers for distribution to more than 9,100 UXO survivors and their families in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces.

With the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Embassy of Ireland in Viet Nam and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), UNDP organized the rapid assessment to help identify health and socio-economic challenges faced by People with Disabilities (PwDs) and their families during COVID-19. Many of the UXO survivors in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces participated in this assessment and shared their difficulties in accessing necessary medical care, supplies and basic items such as foods and personal protective equipment. 66% of UXO victims do not have enough money to purchase essentials, 59% see their family income reduce and 35% are facing temporary unemployment.

"We wanted to rapidly respond to meet some of the urgent COVID protection needs that UXO survivors identified. Today’s event is our immediate response to the survey results presented ten days ago,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Ms. Caitlin Wiesen. “I am delighted to be here this afternoon together with the KOICA Country Director to present packages of food, masks and hand sanitizers for distribution to more than 9,100 UXO survivors and their families in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces in response to COVID-19”.

Many people are heavily affected by COVI-19. Solidarity among nations are very important in fighting COVID-19’’. KOICA Country Director Han-Deog Cho addressed the hand-over ceremony. "The essentials which the  Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action project presented to UXO survivors today reflect the friendship and solidarity of Korean people to Vietnamese people”.

Assistance to UXO victims and their families is an important component of the Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action Project, which was jointly launched in early 2018 by Viet Nam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), KOICA and UNDP to accelerate mine action for safety and sustainable development. In collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the project has developed an official database on 75,000 people with disabilities, 9,100 of them are UXO survivors. The database includes need assessment of UXO survivors, thus enabling the project to provide them with relevant and targeted support.

The ‘Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action Project’ also helps strengthen the governance and management of national mine action activities and reduce future accidents through increasing the awareness in local communities about the potential risk from ERW. The project has so far surveyed nearly 17,000 hectares of land and cleared over 4,000 hectares of contaminated areas in Quang Binh & Binh Dinh, providing more land for development projects in these provinces. Meanwhile, more than 150,000 local students and people educated about how to remain safe in the mine-affected environment.