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Vietnam War leftover ordnance has killed 42,000

Vietnam War leftover ordnance has killed 42,000

Unexploded ordnance left over from the Vietnam War has killed more than 42,000 people in the country since the conflict ended more than three decades ago, and deadly accidents continue daily, a senior military official said Monday.
U.S. forces used 15 million tons of bombs and ammunition during the war and an estimated 800,000 tons of unexploded ordnance still contaminates 20 percent of the country's area, Vice Defense Minister Senior Lt. Gen. Nguyen Huy Hieu wrote in the state-run People's Army newspaper.
He said it may take more than 100 years to clear the contaminated area.
In addition to the deaths, some 62,000 people have been injured since the end of the war in 1975, and tens of thousands of them are permanently disabled, he said, adding that the ordnance has also caused big economic losses to Vietnam.
Hieu said the government, helped with funds from international organizations and countries including the United States, has cleared more than 3 percent of the contaminated area. It may cost tens of billions of dollars to finish the job, he said.
Hieu's figures apparently did not include casualties in neighboring Laos and Cambodia, which were also heavily bombed by the United States during the conflict and where thousands of people have also died in ordnance accidents since 1975.
Ordnance from other countries _ including from the former Soviet bloc, which helped supply weapons to communist forces _ also contribute to the war's deadly legacy in Indochina.


Updated : 2021-07-26 13:59 GMT+08:00