, HANOI, Jan 28 – Hundreds of Vietnamese school children escaped injury when a Vietnam War-era shell exploded in their playground, a group working to clear unexploded ordnance said Thursday.
The blast shook walls and shattered windows Wednesday afternoon at the middle school in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province, in central Vietnam, a statement from Project Renew said.
It said the 105-mm shell exploded five minutes before students were scheduled to take a break from classes.
Nobody knew the shell was buried under a large tree stump which was being burned for removal, Project Renew said, citing the school principal.
More than one-third of the land in six central Vietnamese provinces is lethally contaminated with unexploded bombs and land mines left over from the war against the United States, said a study released last year by Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and Vietnam\\\’s Ministry of Defence.
It said Quang Tri was the worst-hit province, having more than 80 percent contamination.
The study found that more than 10,500 people had been killed and 12,000 wounded in the six provinces since the war ended in 1975.