Implementing partner Sekong and Attapeu provinces
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is a major
international demining NGO and has been operational in Sekong since late
1997, and in Attapeu since 1998. With grant monies from the Norwegian
Government agency NORAD, NPA provides supplemental on-the-job training
to the UXO LAO staff. NPA’s aim is to further develop the capacity of
the provincial Lao staff so that they can manage and implement all facets
of the Programme.
Attapeu province is located in the extreme south of the country, and is bounded by the Annamite Mountains to the east and the Bolovens Plateau to the west, and has a large plain in its centre. It is mostly a mountainous province with access difficulties to some areas, particularly in the wet season.
The population of 87,182 (1995 census) comprises various minority groups including Lave (Brau), Talieng, Ai, Alak, Xou and Nge. Many of these groups do not speak Lao, although this is slowly changing. People living in the lowlands engage in irrigated rice production, fishing, animal and poultry raising and a limited amount of cash cropping. The few people still located in the remote mountainous areas of Attapeu are transient, moving between Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam . They engage in shifting cultivation of rice, supplemented by hunting and foraging.
Attapeu’s location at the tail end of the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos , meant that itr was very heavily bombed during the conflict in Indochina . The province is the ninth most severely UXO-contaminated in Lao PDR. The main road south from Attapeu town to the Cambodian border being particularly heavily affected. The district of Phouvong, and the high population areas in Samakhixay district, have highest priority for UXO clearance.
UXO LAO commenced work in Attapeu in 1998. Since then, UXO LAO teams have cleared 231 hectares of land and have disposed of more than 26,000 items of UXO. Community Awareness Teams have visited 289 villages, reaching more than 130,000 people.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) has provided technical assistance to UXO LAO since 1998. From a peak of 3 advisors in 1999, NPA currently provides one advisor on technical EOD issues and one on quality management, to be shared with neighbouring Sekong province. Funding support in 2002 and 2003 was provided by the US Government, and this assistance will hopefully be extended into 2004 to cover the activities of this Work Plan.
Operational Targets 2004
Area clearance operations will seek to clear land for the poorest families. In line with UXO Lao’s overall mandate and priorities, clearance will provide safe land for agriculture and irrigation projects, new schools and villages, clean water and the other development projects.
The UXO Lao workplan calls for teams to work in 5 districts, complete 66 tasks which are estimated to benefit over 15,000 people and clear 88 hectares of land.
Assistance to specific development projects, implemented by other agencies will include:
• In February 2004: 10,000 square metres to be cleared for a school construction project in Sanxay district funded by the Lao Government.
• In March 2004 : 102,500 square metres to be cleared for two school construction projects in Phouvong district funded by the Lao Government.
• In May to June 2004: 3,070 square metres for ninety two hand pump well projects, in twenty nine villages in Samakixay, Samanxay, Pouvong, Xaysetha and Sanxay district funded by Government of Australia and implemented by the NGO ADRA.
• In November 2004: 10,000 square metres for a school construction project in Xaysetha district, funded by the Lao Government.
• In December 2004: 2,500 square metres for a school construction project in Samanxay district funded by the Lao Government.
Roving Teams will visit 101 villages in Xaysetha, Samakixay, Sananxay, Sanxay and Phouvong districts.
The teams will continue with their on-going programme of village visits. In 2004, they intend to visit 48 villages and bring UXO avoidance and risk education messages to 22,762 people. To expand the reach, and ensure the sustainability of the programme they will seek to train village volunteers, mostly in remote, high UXO impact areas of the province .
The survey teams working in the province will visit 90 villages in the following districts: Xaysetha, Samakixay, Samanxay, Sanxay and Phouvong. These village visits are tasked both from the annual work planning process, and are officially requested by district and village level authorities, and also as a result of requests that come directly from the community for roving team assistance.
This last is often received by UXO Lao as a result of information gathered by the Community Awareness teams in the course of their village visits.