VFA first returned to Vietnam in 1981 when the first of many delegations arrived to engage discussions with the government of Vietnam on issues of common concern, and to begin the long slow road to healing and reconciliation. In 1994, with the lifting of the US embargo against Vietnam, VFA quickly established a representative office in Hanoi, and have been active in humanitarian assistance programs continuously since that time. Our involvement has grown substantially since then, and by early in 2007, VFA will be active in 18 provinces with a variety of assistance programs. VFA is involved in a number of programs in Vietnam, including:
- Mental Health
- Dioxin Resolution in Vietnam (DRIVE)
- School Construction
- Information Management and Mine Action Programs (iMMAP) in Vietnam
VFA’s iMMAP Program
More than 30 years after the war, Vietnam is still filled with hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs, landmines, ammunition and unexploded ordnances scattering throughout 64 provinces of the country and contaminating every category of topography: forests, mountains, pastures, cultivated land, lakes, rivers, streams and coastal settings. It is a scourge which has caused over 30,000 deaths and 64,000 injuries since 1975 and which diminishes the productivity of significant parts of its land and inhibits socio-economic development activities. VFA’s Information Management and Mine Action Programs (iMMAP) works to eliminate the scourge of landmines.
Since 2001, VFA’s Information Management and Mine Action Programs 9iMMAP) has worked with the Ministry of Defense to coordinate with the Technology Centre for Bomb & Mine Disposal (BOMICEN), Engineering Command to design and implement a Vietnam Unexploded Ordnance/Landmine Impact Assessment and Rapid Technical Response Project. The project’s goal is to define the nature and scope of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmine contaminated areas in Vietnam and its adverse social and economic consequences through the execution of a UXO/landmine survey and impact assessment down to commune level. The project also addresses, through a rapid response capacity, priority community UXO and landmine clearance needs as identified during the survey process. During the recently completed Phase I of this project, 421 hectares of land were cleared in three provinces - Quang Tri, Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh, with 6,250 items of unexploded ordinance removed; in Phase II, which is about to commence, the remaining portions of these three provinces will be surveyed and cleared, as well as two additional provinces - Thua Thien hue and Nghe An.
This partnership between the Ministry of Defense and VFA is the first such collaboration between the Ministry and a non-governmental organization and is also widely regarded as an important endeavor supporting reconciliation between Vietnam and the United States.