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Covid-19 hampers UXO clearance efforts

The covid-19 pandemic has hampered efforts to remove unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in the country and this has resulted in increased number of UXO victims, according to the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector – NRA.

“Some activities couldn’t be implemented this year. So they have been listed in the 2022 plan for implementation,” NRA Director General Chomyaeng Phengthongsawath told a virtual meeting on Nov 30.

Some 31 UXO accidents were recorded so far this year along with 55 victims, including 11 deaths and 44 injuries.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and NRA Vice President Padeumphone Sonthany appreciated relevant authorities for their achievement in drafting a decree and a national strategy on addressing UXO issues for the 2021-2030 period.

The two documents are expected to be submitted to the government for consideration of their approval in the near future.

Discussion at the meeting was also focused on a report on the implementation of cooperation projects over the past year by the NRA, the National UXO clearance project, and a report on the preparation of documents related to the Laos-UNDP cooperation project 2022-2026 and the mobilization of funding for the new project.

Source: Lao News Agency