On 23 February 2017, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, accompanied by her delegations paid a visit to UXO Lao in Champasak province.
During this visit, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited mine risk education teams in Nongsai village, Bachieng district, Champasak province and was briefed by UXO Lao Director Mr. Thiphasone Soukhathammavong on UXO Lao operation in Lao PDR, detailing UXO Lao’s achievement since its establishment in 1996 and mine risk education operation.
Mr. Thiphasone highly valuated on this visit of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium and also expressed his highly thanks to the government of Belgium for continuous support on UXO clearance in Lao PDR.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia of U.S Department of State visited UXO Lao’s Clearance Site in Xieng Khouang
On 16 January 2017, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia of the U.S Department of State. W. Patrick Murphy visited UXO Lao’s clearance site in Phou Houm village, Pek, district, Xieng Khuang Province.
Mr. Murphy and his team was briefed by UXO Lao’s Provincial Coordinator, Mr. Kingphet Phimmavong on the site information, including progress so far since the team began to work on the site in Mid-December 2016 and expected to complete the site by Mid-March 2017.
In addition, UXO Lao Director, Mr. Thiphasone Soukhathammavong also explaining about “UXO Lao’s New Concept of Operations”, particularly on the new survey and clearance which now focusing on an evidence based.
UXO Lao thanked the Deputy Assistant Secretary for visiting the site.
On 4 November 2016, the new US Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Ms. Rena Bitter, paid a visit to a UXO Lao technical survey (TS) site in Tam Louang village, Nong district, Savannakhet province.
Ambassador Bitter was able to observe the field base team operating in the site to survey and generate the boundary of UXO contamination, established as Confirmed Hazardous Area (CHA), and logged for later clearance.
She was briefed by the TS team leader Mr. Chonevilay SOULINTHONG at the start of her visit. The team had begun working on the site on 31 October 2016, with five cluster munitions or bombies (type BLU 26) found so far. Some parts of the site are covered by dense jungle which causes problems for the team. The team leader said that this could be helped by having a vegetation-cutting team to support the work. This would increase the pace of the survey and clearance.
Before leaving the site, the Ambassador was given the chance to activate the detonation of all five cluster bombs that the team found on that day (see picture).
Following the successful completion of the second exchange programme under South-South Cooperation Framework - Phase II, the project will now begin the third exchange programme on “Information Management System”
The project consists of six themes of exchange as following:
- Ownership and Partnership Capacity Development; Project Management and M&E;
- Operational Management;
- Information Management System;
- Technology Application and Methodology Development; Survey and Clearance SOP;
- MRE/VR Program; Peace Building Program; and
- Human Resource Capacity Development.
For this programme, there are 5 participants from UXO Lao and CMAC respectively. They are working in different sections in UXO Lao and CMAC Headquarters such as Database Unit, Department of Planning and Operation, Provincial Office and Demining Unit.
The on-the-job-training on theme “Information Management System” will be carried out for 3 weeks, starting from 9-14 October 2016 in Lao PDR and from 17-28 October 2016 in Cambodia. Both sides’ participants will work closely with their assigned counterparts for exchanging and learning from each side experiences of working in Mine/UXO action in related roles and responsibilities. In addition to the programme in Lao PDR, participants will have a chance to go on a sightseeing trip at various tourists and historical sites in Luang Prabang province.
Next programme will be exchanged on theme “Technology Application and Methodology Development; Survey and Clearance SOP” to be conducted by mid-2017.
In this morning at the UXO Lao Headquarters, ITO Supporting Comity (ISC) handed-over equipment supporting the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao). The ceremony was chaired by the UXO Lao Director Mr. Thiphasone Soukhathammavong and the ISC President Ms. Shinrei ITO with attendance of UXO Lao management staff and ISC delegations.
This is the second time for ISC to provide support to UXO Lao after the year of 2009 when ISC supported UXO Lao for the first time. The support of this year is to procure equipment for survey-clearance and risk education activities in nine provinces of the UXO Lao operation. The equipment includes GPSs, exploders medical bags with first aid kit and others.
Ms. ITO expressed her profound thanks for being warmly welcomed by the UXO Lao team. She also said “this is my third time visiting Lao PDR. Every time I look down from airplane’s window, I saw a lot of bomb’s craters when the plain flies above Xiengkhouang territory, which makes me feel sorrow and imagine how many people were killed during the Indochina war. Those remnants of war are still remaining and affecting the people’s lives in the country. It is my pleasure to provide the support to UXO Lao even though the support is just a small amount. I hope that this small contribution would be useful for the organization’s staff who is working in the dangerous areas”.
Mr. Thiphasone expressed his gratitude and thanked to ISC for the kind support to UXO Lao. He also expressed his hope that ISC would continue its support to UXO Lao for addressing the problem of UXOs in Lao PDR in the future.
- Prime Minister of New Zealand visits UXO Lao Training Center
- United Nations Secretary-General visits UXO Lao Training Center
- US President meets UXO Lao during COPE visits
- UXO Lao holds the 2016 Semi-Annual Work Plan Review Meeting
- Lao Army successful completed a training program on Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Level 1