2012 came to a sad end in Central Vietnam's Nghe An province when three boys hunting crabs encountered a war-era cluster bomb and, thinking it harmless, threw it into a nearby drainage ditch.
"The explosion of pellets knocked the boys down immediately," said Tran Hong Chi of the US-based non-governmental organization, Clear Path International. "They were severely injured and rushed to the hospital. Sadly, Le Van Thang, one of the younger boys, died of his injuries the next day."
Le Van Thang was 12 years old. The other two boys, Duong Van Long, 15, and Le Van Loc, 12, were both badly hurt but are expected to recover.
"We will meet with the families and give our assistance to help with medical bills and make sure the boys receive proper treatment as well as any necessary ongoing support," said Chi.
For the family who lost their son, Clear Path will provide support to help with expenses related to his treatment and funeral expenses.
Accidents involving ordnance are all too prevalent in Vietnam. Just weeks before this incident, four children were killed by a decades-old mortar round in Southern Vietnam. During the Vietnam war, the United States dropped millions of tons of ordnance on Vietnam with an estimated 8-9 million tons still remaining in the soil.
About Clear Path International
Clear Path International, with funding from the US Department of State and other donors, assists civilian victims of war in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, along the Thai-Burma Border and in Afghanistan. Read more about Clear Path at www.cpi.org.