First-Ever Mine Action Project Launched in Phongsaly

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Attendees at the Resilient Integrated Mine Action (RIMA) project at Khua district in Phongsaly province.

The non-governmental organization, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) has officially kicked off the first phase of the Resilient Integrated Mine Action (RIMA) project in Phongsaly province.

On 3 October at Khua district’s finance office in Phongsaly province, Humanity & Inclusion in Laos organized the opening ceremony and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) kick-off meeting of the Resilient Integrated Mine Action project.

As the first-ever mine action operation in Phongsaly, the project was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs ‘BZ’ with a two-year project operation (approved by the MOU until 31 August 2024).

The event was attended by the national Implementing Management Committee from the National Regulatory Authority (NRA), Department of Planning and Cooperation, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Department of Provincial Labor and Social Welfare, Department of Provincial Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Provincial NRA office, Vice district governors, District Labor and Social Welfare office, district education and sports office from Khua and Mai districts and HI.

The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Director of the Department of Phongsaly Provincial Labour and Social Welfare, Mr. Thonglao Vonginkham, and the Director General of NRA, Mr. Chomyaeng Phengthongsawath.

The meeting was attended and witnessed by HI Laos Country Manager, Mr. Reinier Carabain, and other representatives from Implementing Management Committees (IMC), provincial IMC, district IMC, and HI project staff.

The project aims to help fulfill the national strategy of the UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) sector by using comprehensive approaches to reduce the impact of UXO in the Khua and Mai districts of Phongsaly province. The project’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team will support and complete a Technical Survey on 793,750 square meters and Area Clearance on 200,000 square meters in 21 target villages.

The aim is to ensure that 100 percent of UXOs are destroyed by Roving Tasks in every village in the two districts. The project integrates Explosive Ordnance Risk Education by raising awareness of the risks of landmines and other explosive ordnance, to benefit 4,563 people in 21 target villages, including the training of 25 teachers on the UXO curriculum in primary schools, and safety briefings of organizations working in contaminated areas for 60 Community Safety Focal Persons.

The project is not only focusing on Technical Surveys and Area Clearance but also providing direct support to 50 victims and survivors of UXO-related accidents who are now disabled, through Victim Assistance (VA) activities to ensure that those people can access health care, mental health and rehabilitation services based on the prioritization and VA’s guidance of HI.

HI will support First Aid training for 40 Community Safety Focal Persons to increase their skills and knowledge to ensure they can respond in the event of an accident in their communities and can promptly provide First Aid support to victims to ensure they survive.