Humanitarian Mine Action

Living with Mine Risk: Cun's Story

In order to help provide for their families' basic needs, children living in poverty in Quang Tri often turn to collecting scrap metal which can be exchanged for cash. This activity is extremely dangerous because of the high likelihood that the metal they find will be part of unexploded ordnance.

Ho Van Tiec authored and shared this story at PeaceTrees' Mine Risk Education Camp. He is a student at Dakrong 2 primary school in Dakrong district Vietnam:

When I was 10 years old, I lived next to my classmate and close friend, Cun. Being neighbors, we were together all the time; going to school, swimming in the river, finding bamboo shoots in the forest, and searching for scrap metal. On one summer day, Cun and I cheerfully took metal detectors and went to find scrap metal to help our families out. We searched very carefully, trying to find as much as we can so that we would have good meals that day. I had just found a large fragment when I was startled by an explosion. I heard Cun call “Help! Help me!” I threw everything down and ran to him. I started cry when I saw him on the ground and held him in my hands. Cun was bloody and groaned with pain, then fainted. I tried to calm down, carried him on my back and ran as fast as I could back to the village. Someone in our village helped to bring him to the nearest hospital.

Cun was lucky to not be killed, but he lost a hand and one foot. I was so heart-broken when seeing he’s back home, sad and quiet. What happened to Cun was a tragedy and an expensive lesson for me and others in our village. After that, we were trained in mine risk awareness. Later, a group of de-miners, from PeaceTrees Vietnam, brought mine detectors to my village. They had come to help the village learn about the safety risks, and to search and remove dangerous landmine and unexploded ordnances. 

Our village is peaceful again. Cun has learned to live without his hand and foot. His story teaches us to stay away from landmines and UXOs, to stop the same accident from happening again.

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