- Why is the work of PeaceTrees Vietnam still needed?
- Who does the actual demining and ordnance clearance work in Vietnam?
- What is unexploded ordnance (UXO)?
- What is a cluster munition?
- What is Mine Risk Education?
- Where does PeaceTrees Vietnam get its funding and support?
- What are PeaceTrees Vietnam citizen diplomacy trips?
- Besides giving financial support, what else can I do to support PeaceTrees Vietnam?
Why is the work of PeaceTrees Vietnam still needed?
Since the war ended, 40,000 Vietnamese children and adults have been killed by the dangerous ordnance left behind. Although we have worked diligently to remove explosives from Quảng Trị since 1995, much remains to be done. Unexploded weapons are still buried beneath more than 80 percent of the land in Quảng Trị Province. Over 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, PeaceTrees EOD teams continue to find 60-100 UXO each week. Until they are safely removed from the areas near homes, fields, and schools, unexploded ordnance will continue to put local residents in danger.
Unexploded weapons are especially hazardous for children. They are often the size and shape of a baseball or softball and children can easily mistake them for toys. Additionally, when parents are killed or lose the ability to work, their families suffer economically and their children are forced to forego school in order to work.
PeaceTrees Vietnam’s mission is to heal the legacy of war by removing dangerous explosives, returning land to safe use, promoting peace and cultivating a brighter future for the children and families of Vietnam. We believe that restoring land to safety isn’t enough to restore prosperity to regions devastated by the war. We also engage Vietnamese communities in building important infrastructure and economic opportunity to help them thrive once UXO have been removed.
PeaceTrees Vietnam sponsors the clearance of landmines, bombs, and other unexploded ordnance. The work itself is performed by Vietnamese Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians who are trained, supported, and supervised following United Nations International Mine Actions Standards.
As defined by the United Nations Mine Action Service, “UXO is explosive munitions such as mortars, artillery shells, grenades and mines that have been primed, fused, armed or otherwise prepared for use or used. They could have been fired, dropped, launched, or projected yet remain unexploded either through malfunction or design, or for any other cause” (United Nations, International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations Glossary).
Cluster Munitions, some of the most hazardous UXO in Quảng Trị, are typically released from a large clam-shell like container that disperses hundreds of small bomblets. These bomblets are designed to detonate after a specified number of rotations, but they have a very high failure rate (up to 30% in Vietnam) which means that they leave large swaths of land contaminated by unexploded ordnance. Cluster munitions are particularly dangerous for children who often mistake them for toys because they are brightly colored and the size and shape of a baseball or softball.
Mine Risk Education are “activities which seek to reduce the risk of injury from mines/explosive remnants of war by raising awareness and promoting behavioral change including public information dissemination, education and training, and community mine action liaison” (United Nations, International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations Glossary).
Generous people like you provide PeaceTrees Vietnam with critical financial support to advance our mission. Our work also is funded by grants from charitable foundations and federal government agencies. Our growing community of support includes philanthropists, businesses, veterans and their family members, humanitarians, and volunteers who are inspired by our mission. We also receive products and services from supportive businesses.
We welcome gifts of “time, talent and treasure.” Your volunteer time and expertise create economic opportunity on citizen diplomacy trips to Quảng Trị, while your financial gifts sustain our mission.
Our citizen diplomacy trips are designed to reach beyond stereotypes and simplistic views and provide an opportunity for travelers to volunteer and experience Vietnam from a unique and rewarding perspective. Travelers make personal connections with our Vietnamese partners by working alongside them, sharing meals, and planting trees. Our trips include several days in Quảng Trị Province, touring and volunteering at PeaceTrees projects and observing Explosive Ordnance Technicians in the field. Trips also provide an opportunity to explore Vietnam, including its scooter-filled cities, gracious old towns, beautiful beaches and sobering battlefields. Cost for the trips varies depending on airfare and the number of participating travelers.
PeaceTrees Vietnam is a hands-on, grassroots organization that relies on networking and volunteerism from supporters. You can help us spread the word through an invitation to speak at your community group, church, classroom or service organization. You can also join our email newsletter, support PeaceTrees Vietnam by distributing materials to potential supporters, or host small gatherings so your friends can learn about PeaceTrees’ work.