Taiwan Sponsors Land Mine Survivors Assistance Program in Vietnam

Central News Agency

New York, Aug. 7 (CNA) Taiwan has officially provided assitance to the U.S.-based nongovernmental Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) in support of a program aimed at promoting land mine removal and assisting land mine and unexploded ordnance survivors in Vietnam.

A memorandum of understanding on cooperation was signed in Ne York Thursday by Kenneth Liao, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, and HDI President Ralph Cwerman.

Liao later handed a US$200,000 check to Cwerman on behalf of his government.

The amount is intended to support the HDI’s ongoing efforts to remove land mines in Vietnam and to expand mushroom farming there to general jobs and income for those who have been left disabled by land mines or unexploded ordnance.

Over the next two years, Taiwan will also send mushroom farming experts to Vietnam to take part in the program.

Building on a small mushroom growing project launched by the institute in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province in 2000, the program is designed to take mushroom farming in the province to the next level by introducting modern production technology and developing a strong partnership between Quang Tri mushroom farmers and the U.S. mushroom industry.

Quang Tri is one of the Vietnamese provinces that have been most severely affected by land mines and unexploded ordnance.

Vietnam now reports 2,000 casualties from land mines and unexploded ordnance annually, rivaling Cambodia and Angola as countries with the world’s highest proportion of amputees, according to the HDI.

(By Hwang Jaw-pyng and Y.F. Low)