[health-vn] Scrap metal collector seriously injured by explosion
Project_RENEW at mail.vresp.com
Wed Jun 23 17:03:54 EST 2010
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Mine Action Alert
Scrap metal collector seriously injured by explosion
Dong Ha, Quang Tri (26 Jun 2010): An explosion of wartime ordnance
caused major injuries to a local resident of Tan Quang Village in
Cam Tuyen Commune last Sunday afternoon. Nguyen Duc Nha, born in
1978, hit an unidentified item of unexploded ordnance while searching
for scrap metal using his home-made metal detector on a hillside of
pine trees, three kilometers from his home. The above photo shows the
victim is receiving trauma treatment at the provincial hospital in
The explosion tore the sole of his left foot, crushed his right hand
and broke one of his right toes. The blast also damaged his hearing.
Nha was alone when the explosion went off. Despite losing a lot of
blood, Nha managed to crawl from the explosion site to the main trail
where he used his mobile phone with his left hand to call his home.
One of his brothers rushed to him on a motorbike and brought him to
Cam Lo Hospital where Nha was given emergency treatment and his
injuries stabilized. He was then transferred to the provincial
hospital in Dong Ha for advanced trauma treatment.
Nha’s parents have nine children, three of whom are married. Nha,
still single, lives with his parents and six brothers and sisters.
Nha said he was aware of the risk of disturbing ERW. “I see many
risk education billboards in my village and I feel scared, but I have
no choice,” he said. “Some other people in my village also do
this kind of work,” said Nha.
Until he was injured, Nha had been collecting war scrap for five
years as a way to help his family, temporarily, he thought. On some
days, if he was lucky, he could earn 50,000VND to 100,000VND ($2.50
to $5.00 US dollars). On other days, he got nothing.
Despite a province-wide ERW risk education campaign conducted by
local authorities and NGOs including Project RENEW, accidents related
to scrap metal collection still occur in Quang Tri Province. Lack of
economic opportunities is the main reason local people risk their
lives searching for war scrap, a temporary way to earn additional
income for their livelihoods.
Last March, a 17-year-old boy was killed in Ban Chua Village of Cam
Tuyen Commune because of tampering with unexploded cluster munitions
while searching for scrap. After the accident, Project RENEW sent an
EOD team to assess the situation there and the team found and
destroyed there more cluster bombs.
Since Nha is still hospitalized he has been unable to describe the
exact location of the accident. A Project RENEW EOD team will
interview him later and try to get more information about the exact
location, after which they will safely remove any remaining items of
ERW in the area.
According to a Project RENEW survey in 2006, collecting scrap metal
is one of the four major causes of ERW accidents since the war ended
in 1975. Farming, livestock herding, and tampering with ERW are the
other main causes of deaths and injuries.
Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of the War
Project RENEW Coordination Office
103 Nguyen Binh Khiem
Dong Ha Town, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam
053 3858 445 tel / 053 3858 442 fax
Ngo Xuan Hien, Development & Public Affairs Officer, 0915 352 565
E-mail: projectrenewvietnam at gmail.com
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