VIENTIANE (Xinhua): Over 18,000 hectares of land in northern Laos' Xieng Khuang province have been cleared of unexploded ordnance (UXO), mostly agricultural land and areas slated for future development, with 599,992 unexploded devices removed and rendered harmless.
Progress achieved in this field was reported to representatives of Laos' development partners during their visit to Xieng Khuang province, some 180 km northeast of Lao capital Vientiane, from Wednesday to Friday, Lao News Agency reported on Saturday (Nov 11).
The Deputy Governor of Xieng Khuang province, Sivilay Sengchaleun, said Xieng Khuang is one of the provinces that was most heavily bombed during the Indochina War (1964-1973). There are still unexploded bombs in many areas, including on farmland, which pose a continuing threat to local communities.
Since the end of the war, unexploded munitions have killed or maimed hundreds of people and are still a huge obstacle to economic and social development, said the report.
Sivilay said explosive devices have been removed from 18,805 hectares of farmland and development areas, equivalent to 1.15 percent of the entire province, and 599,992 unexploded devices have been detonated, comprising 370,715 bombies, 530 large bombs, 280 mines, and 228,467 other weapons.
So far this year, eight explosions killed five people, with many people afraid to farm their land because of the risk.