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Laos destroys 1.7M UXO devices during 1996-2021

VIENTIANE (XINHUA) – Nearly 1.7 million unexploded ordnance (UXO) items had been destroyed by clearance teams in Laos from 1996 to December 31, 2021, while over 71,000 hectares of land were cleared of munitions.

The figures were released at a consultation meeting on the Draft Unexploded Ordnance National Strategic Plan in Laos “Safe Path Forward III” for 2021-2030 in Lao capital Vientiane on Monday.

According to the national UXO database, from 1996 until December 16, 2021, 71,943 hectares of land in the country’s all 18 provincial regions were cleared.

Of this, 55,286.3 hectares were agricultural land and 16,656.7 hectares were land targetted for development.

A total of 1,693,487 UXO items were destroyed, of which 4,288 were large bombs, 968,447 were bombies, 2,379 were landmines and 718,367 were other types of unexploded ordnance.

According to the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for the UXO/Mine Action Sector, since 1996 the focus has been on UXO clearance in the nine most heavily impacted provinces of Laos, namely Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Luang Prabang, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Champassak, Saravan, Xekong and Attapeu.

Over the past 10 years, the NRA has conducted 18,862 Mine Risk Education activities.

Workers of an UXO (unexploded ordnance) clearance team arrive at the Phuckae secondary school in the northern province of Xiangkhoang, Laos. PHOTO: AFP

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