Binh Dinh province: UXO-free land new home to farmers from flood-prone areas
For many years, Ms Nguyen Thi Sen, 61, in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district in Binh Dinh province, experienced water coming into her house in flooding season. “I used to be scared when flooding season came,” said Ms. Sen. “I often had to put my belongings up and take my children and the cow to the house of family or friends until the flooding passed.”
Ms. Sen was recently provided with a plot of land above the flood plain. She had her new house built and the construction completed in time for her and her children to move in before the flooding season started. “I am no longer worried about flooding,” she said with a big smile.
Ms Sen’s is among the 29 families who have been relocated from the lowland to this higher area in Cat Nhon commune. Local government provided each family with 200 square meters of land and VND20 million to build house.
This safe area is part of the 9,000 hectares of land that had been surveyed and cleared from unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines by the Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action project. Leaders of the Viet Nam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam have officially handed over the map with post-clearance land and documents to local government and communities for socio-economic development.
At the handover ceremony, both UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Caitlin Wiesen and KOICA Country Director Mr. Cho Han-Deog highly appreciated the dedication and effort of the survey and clearance teams in ensuring that the work was carried out safely, at high quality, and on schedule, despite challenges caused by COVID-19 and the weather conditions.
“I am so moved to hand over the documents of 9.000 hectares of surveyed and cleared land in Binh Dinh, one of most UXO contaminated provinces in Viet Nam,” Ms. Wiesen said. “UNDP is honored to partner with VNMAC and KOICA to extend this work and release land for people’s development.”
While handing over Binh Dinh map with post-clearance lands to Vice Chair of Phu Cat District People’s Committee Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet, KOICA Country Director Mr. Cho Han-Deog stressed: “The creation of this map is the result of tireless efforts from all the parties during the past two years. The final goal of the project is not just about freeing land from UXO and landmines. Clean and safe land is the start of development process. Therefore, UXO clearance priorities should be aligned with broader development plans. And we anticipate the cleared land that has been handed over to Binh Dinh will be prioritized for socio-economic development.”
More than four decades after the war, 40% (nearly 250,000 hectares) of Binh Dinh province’s land area remains contaminated with UXO and landmines. The ‘Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action Project’ was launched in March 2018 to strengthen the governance and management of national mine action activities, as well as to promote people’s safety and development in areas contaminated with UXO in Binh Dinh and Quang Binh provinces.
“The project has provided a large area of clean and safe land for the province’s development and local people’s expansion of production, especially for the construction of social infrastructure such as health care centers and schools,” said Vice Chair of Phu Cat District People’s Committee Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet.
The USD20 million project is funded by the Government of Korea, through KOICA, and implemented by VNMAC and UNDP. The project has so far surveyed nearly 17,000 hectares of land and cleared 9,000 hectares of confirmed hazardous areas in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces, providing more land for development projects in these provinces. A large database was created with 75,000 persons with disabilities, of which 9,100 were caused by unexploded ordnance or landmines. Meanwhile, nearly nearly 90,000 local students, boys and girls, and 363,000 community members, women and men, were educated about how to remain safe in areas with potential UXO contamination. (Read more about the project).