VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The US government has provided new vehicles and equipment to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme for UXO clearance operations, worth at US$1.3 million (21 billion kip).
The vehicles and equipment will be used for field operations in the provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan and Attapeu.
The donated items include 31 new Toyota Land Cruiser hardtops, 7 Honda Wave 125cc motorcycles, 52 tents and IT equipment.
The equipment was handed over on Monday (March 7) at the UXO/Mine Action Training Centre to Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Padeumphone Sonthany by the US Ambassador to Laos, Dr Peter M. Haymond.
The handover was witnessed by representatives from involved ministries, the NRA, UXO Lao, the US Embassy, and Tetra Tech.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Haymond said “The US government and the government of the Lao PDR have had a close and long partnership for development in various fields over the past few decades, particularly in addressing UXO problems. The US government aims to reduce the number of UXO-related accidents and casualties and to increase the amount of safe land available for agriculture and socio-economic development, as well as contributing to poverty eradication for Lao people nationwide.”
Padeumphone said “This support from the US government is a very important contribution to the Lao government’s National Socio-Economic Development Plan, especially in relation to poverty eradication, as well as contributing to the 18th Sustainable Development Goal “Lives Safe From UXO” by removing UXO obstacles to enable development in Laos and prevent more deaths from UXO-related accidents.”
He expressed his profound gratitude and thanks to the US government for continuing support for UXO clearance in Laos and voiced the hope that the United States would provide further support in addressing UXO problems in Laos.