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VUFO leader thanks PeaceTrees Vietnam for bomb, mine clearance

President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Nguyen Phuong Nga has thanked PeaceTrees Vietnam (PTVN), sponsors, friends, and partners for promoting mediation and mutual understanding between Vietnamese and American people, as well as dealing with the consequences of bombs, mines and explosives left over from the war in Vietnam.

During a reception in Hanoi on February 26 for a delegation of PTVN sponsors, led by former Executive Director and Senior Advisor Robert Stoke, Nga lauded them for supporting victims of bombs and mines and their families, calling for the involvement of international volunteers in humanitarian activities in the central province of Quang Tri; as well as holding tree planting activities to restore the environment.

PTVN’s efforts and support have contributed to healing the scars of war, restoring trust, and fostering friendship between the two countries’ people, she said, adding that their activities have helped to mitigate risks regarding bomb and mine accidents, created a safe land zone for local residents, and built multiple social welfare works.

Its economic and social welfare support programmes have benefited victims of bombs and mines, ethnic minority groups, and the poor, focusing especially women and children.

Nga expressed her belief that more international friends will be interested in assisting Vietnam in post-war recovery, towards soothing the pain suffered by many underprivileged Vietnamese families.

Stoke, for his part, said PTVN is the first US non-governmental organisation to be licensed by the Vietnamese government to search and defuse bombs, mines, and explosives, and also the only organisation in the field in Vietnam. It also held educational projects to raise public awareness of the effort, as well as people-to-people diplomatic programmes.

In 2005, PTVN set up a mobile explosive ordinance disposal team in Quang Tri, which has now increased to six units. As of October 2018, over 487 ha of land underwent bomb and mine clearance, while over 112,000 unexploded ordnances were found and destroyed.

It offered loans to 250 families of bomb and mine victims and disadvantaged women. Since 2005, it has provided more than 2,000 scholarships for students and whose relatives who suffered bomb and mine accidents.