VIENTIANE, March 20 (Xinhua) -- An additional 4.5-million-U.S. dollar funding is needed this year to effectively carry out unexploded ordnance (UXO) operations in Laos.
The information came last Friday during the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao)'s annual meeting, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday
According to the meeting, which summarized work in the past year and planned for the year ahead, UXO operations in Laos included mine surveys and clearance, along with risk education and victim assistance.
The National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action sector (NRA) this year expected its UXO surveys, clearance, risk education, administration, capacity building for humanitarian teams and victim assistance to cost 33.33 million U.S. dollars, the report said.
The meeting heard that UXO surveys have been conducted in nine provinces around the country. While UXO surveys covered 60,000 hectares, only 5,000 hectares have been cleared because of insufficient funding.
This year, a non-technical survey will be carried out in 1,106 villages with the technical survey to cover 22,750 hectares. UXO clearance work will be carried out on 3,211 hectares in rural development projects.
UXO community awareness and risk education campaigns will take place in 673 villages and 395 schools covering 54 districts of 12 provinces, aiming to reduce the number of UXO casualties to less than 40 a year.
Authorities will continue to provide vocational training courses to assist 612 UXO victims in their livelihoods.