Making news

Mine-free land new home to farmers from flood-prone areas in Binh Dinh

 In anticipation of this year’s flood and storm season, farmers living in flood-prone area have been relocated to a higher area in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district, the south-central coastal province of Binh Dinh.

For many years, Nguyen Thi Sen, 61, in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district, experienced water coming into her house in flooding season.

“I used to be scared when flooding season came,” said 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.”

This year is different. Three months ago, Sen was 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.

Sen is among the 29 families who have been relocated from the lowland to this higher area. Local administration provided each family with 200 square meters of land and 20 million VND (861.7 USD) to build their houses in anticipation of this year’s flooding season.

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.

In October 2020, leaders of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam officially handed over the map with post-clearance land and documents to local administrations and communities for socio-economic development.

At the handover ceremony, both UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen and KOICA Country Director 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 the most UXO contaminated provinces in Vietnam,” 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 Chairwoman of Phu Cat district People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Tuyet, KOICA Country Director Cho Han-Deog stressed: “The creation of this map is the result of the 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 prioritised for socio-economic development.”

More than four decades after the war, 40 percent (nearly 250,000 hectares) of Binh Dinh province’s land area remains contaminated with UXO and landmines.

The Korea-Vietnam 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 also helps ensure timely support and quality of life for survivors from landmine/UXO accidents and reduce future accidents through increasing the awareness in local communities about the potential risk from UXO and landmines.

“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 centres and schools,” said Tuyet.

The 20 million USD project is funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK), through KOICA, and implemented by VNMAC and UNDP./.