press release 2012
U.S. Supports UXO Clearance in Sepon
Sep. 27, 2012
Continuing its support for UXO removal operations in Laos, the U.S. government has funded the construction of a new operations and logistics building for use by UXO Lao's Savannakhet clearance teams. Ambassador Karen B. Stewart presented the new building to Mr. Bounpone Sayasenh, National Program Director of UXO Lao and Mr. Kaysone Kounlath-Souvannavong, Deputy Governor of Savannakhet Province, during a ceremony Sep. 20.
Funding for the new building was provided by the U.S. State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Stewart commended the ongoing work of UXO Lao clearance teams around the country, which is conducted at great risk to the lives of the clearance operators. During her speech, she reiterated the "United States' commitment to working with the Lao government and civil society organizations in an effort to eliminate the threat that UXO poses on the Lao people." Ambassador Stewart also pointed out that the operations and logistics building provided by the United States would "improve the efficiency of UXO Lao teams operating in Sepon and other area districts."
Ambassador Stewart's visit to the Sepon District in Savannakhet Province included a visit to the Oudomsouk primary school to observe UXO risk education puppet shows and teacher trainings supported by World Education, which receives funding from the U.S. The Ambassador listened to presentations about UXO Lao's clearance activities in Savannakhet Province, district survey activities by Handicap International, and planned clearance operations by HALO Trust, the latest organization to begin working in the UXO sector. Ambassador Stewart completed her trip by observing UXO Lao teams conducting operations at various sites in Savannakhet Province.
The U.S. government has provided over $68 million to the UXO sector since 1993 and has wil spend over $9 million this year. In addition to funding clearance operations, U.S. support to the sector includes risk education aimed at teaching school children about the dangers of UXO and life-saving victim's assistance that provides medical training and equipment to clinics and hospitals in heavily contaminated districts.