Implementing partner Houaphan & Luang Phrabang provinces
GERBERA GmbH is a commercial company based in Germany.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, through a bilateral agreement
with the Government of Lao PDR, contracted Gerbera in late 1996 to support
UXO LAO by providing clearance and awareness in Houaphan province. Since
April 1998, Gerbera has also been developing the national clearance capacity
in Luang Prabang province.
Houaphanh is a mountainous province with an altitude of between 1000 and 2000 metres above sea level, situated in the northeast of the Lao PDR, bordering Vietnam . The province consists of six districts. Houaphanh has a temperate climate with a high annual rainfall. Much of the province is heavily forested.
The population of 246,414 (1995 census) consists of many different ethnic groups, the majority being Phu Tai and Lao Tai. Other groups include Lao Loum, Pheuan, Hmong, Mien, Khamu, Yao , Tai Dam, Tam Daeng, Lao Khan and Tai Khao. Both upland and lowland rice is produced, and limited animal raising occurs together with some cash cropping in the more accessible areas. Hunting and foraging occurs throughout the province. Shifting cultivation and opium production occur in some areas, but resettlement and assistance with developing other sources of income are discouraging these practices.
Houaphanh is the eighth most UXO-contaminated province in the Lao PDR, with the districts of Viengxay, Xamnuea and Houa Meuang being the most affected. Most of the UXO contamination in Houaphan follows the main route east to west through the districts Viengxay, Xamneua, Houa Meuang and Viengthong with very little contamination outside of this, apart from areas around old military camps and mined defensive positions. Bombing occurred throughout all four districts and was particularly intense in Viengxay. Intense land battles occurred Xarnneua and Houameuang districts.
UXO LAO commenced working in November 1996. Since then, UXO LAO teams have cleared 624 hectares of land and have disposed of more than 37,117 Items of UXO. Community Awareness Teams have visited 433 villages, reaching more than 117,000 people.
The German company, Gerbera GmbH, has been assisting UXO LAO in Huaphanh since 1996, with funding support from German Government.
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 3 districts, complete 51 tasks, estimated to benefit over 13,000 people through the clearance of over 113 hectares of land.
Assistance to specific development projects, implemented by other agencies will include:
January to February 2004
• 55,400 square metres for Minority School construction in Viengxay district funded by the Government of Vietnam
• 40,000 square metres for 2 school constructions in Viengthong district
Roving Teams will visit 47 villages in Xamneua, Xiengkhor, Viengthong, Viengxay, Xamtay, Sopbao and Add districts.
The teams will continue with their on-going programme of village visits. In 2004, they intend to visit 46 villages and bring UXO avoidance and risk education messages to 19,082 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 47 villages in the following districts: Xamneua, Xiengkhor, Viengthong, Viengxay, Xamtay, Sopbao,Add. 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.