500 pound aircraft bomb found and destroyed in VietnamLocal Vietnamese villagers recently discovered a huge aircraft bomb buried disturbingly near residential housing. The bomb was moved and destroyed by professional deminers from the Danish Deming Group. Farmers in the A Luoi district face the risk of coming in contact with explosive remnants of war on a daily basis, says country director.
Only 75 meters from the nearest house, locals from the village of Ka Ku 1 in Vietnam found a 500-pound aircraft bomb, buried one meter underground.
“For decades, farmers have been taking huge risks while trying to make a livelihood, farming on contaminated land. They are facing the risk of coming in contact with explosive remnants of war on a daily basis,” says DDG/DRC Country Director Clinton Smith.
There have been two additional reports of suspected aircraft bombs in the same village since. These explosive remnants are the legacy of the Vietnam War, affecting the everyday lives of many local populations.
The village of Ka Ku 1 resides in the mountainous A Luoi district, home to the infamous Hamburger Hill - also referred to as the meat grinder - which was a strategic location during the war, costing the lives of many soldiers. The district as a whole was target to heavy bombings: According to US bombing data, a combined amount of 302 000 tonnes of aircraft bombs and cluster munitions were dropped on the area during the Vietnam War.
Today the area remains heavily contaminated, affecting villages like Ka Ku 1, where sources of income are scarce. The population consists mainly of ethnic minorities because of its location bordering to Laos. Most people in the village of 800 residents survive on subsistence farming and foraging the forest. In A Luoi, accidents are most common among farmers, they make up 34 % of all victims of explosive accidents.
122 hazardous areas – or more
The aircraft bomb that was found in Ka Ku 1 has a fragmentation radius of 1097 meters and blast radius of 577 meters, which could destroy parts of the village. The bomb was declared safe to move, which allowed DDG’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team to move the item to a central demolition site for destruction.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operations began after receiving accreditation to conduct clearance in the district on 9th of April. Since then, DDG’s two EOD teams have conducted 176 spot tasks identified by our Non-Technical Survey team.
“DDG’s priority is to secure safe access to land by releasing it through clearance. By creating a safe environment for people to go about their daily activities, we are contributing to long term effects like poverty alleviation,” says Smith.
Before receiving accreditation, DDG conducted Non-Technical Survey, identifying 122 hazardous areas and marking 800,000 m2 of suspected contaminated land. The actual amount of contaminated land in the district is estimated to be much higher.