next article

For Vietnamese scrap metal hunters, tiny income courts UXO danger
By Thanh Nien News -
For many people in Hong Van Commune, the war is not over.
The commune in Thua Thien-Hue Province’s A Luoi District used to be a fierce battlefield in the Vietnam War. Now it is still laden with deadly bombs, mortars, artillery shells and other munitions, reports.
Hong Van residents are mostly Paco ethnic people who engage in searching for scrap metal for a living.
Although many of them know all too well that they are putting their own lives at risk, they stick to the job.
Children here drop out at the age of 10. They go to local forests together, usually bringing with them a metal detector.
When the detector finds something, they will try to dig it up with a hoe. Sometimes, that something can turn out to be a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO). 
But even finding a bomb is not a bad thing for local scrap metal hunters.
A bomb means a little more cash for the day, if they can get through it. 
Children in Ka Cu 1 Village in Hong Van Commune go to a field to search for scrap metal in the morning. Photo: Tran Viet Duc/
A man carries a bomb on his shoulder.
A dumping ground where Hong Van people put the scrap they collect in.
This man started the job of scrap collecting in the 1980s.  
Ho Van Cuong, a local boy, and a metal detector 
The scrap metal is being weighed to be sold to dealers. 
Le Van Thiet and Can Val, a married couple who suffer from Agent Orange-related illnesses, have quit their scrap collecting job due to poor health. Their son died several years ago after digging up a mortar shell. 
Le Thi Kien, the 18-year-old daughter of Le Van Thiet and Can Val, was wounded two years ago after digging up a bomb. Her eyes were also affected. 
A large bomb surfacing in the garden of Quynh Tam, a man in Ka Cu 1 Village. He said he would keep the bomb and sell it in case he needs money. 
Residents search for scrap at Doc Meo, a hill known for fierce battles in the Vietnam War. 
Le Van Nga lost one eye after digging up a napalm bomb.