BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
THE government and people of Japan sealed an agreement with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal in providing financial support for the provision to assisting unexploded ordnance (UXO) operations in Solomon Islands to reduce lives lost.
The total grant assistance is about SBD$6,267,000 with the aim to reinforcing EOD team through the provision of purchasing equipment for response to UXO and awareness program not only to reduce lives lost but also reducing the number of people affected and economic damage and increase the area of safe land available for food production and other socio-economic activities.
Acting Ambassador of Japan Norimasa Yoshida said the purpose of this project is reinforcing EOD team through providing necessary equipment such as excavator, specialized vehicles, and conduct awareness program.
“We will provide equipment such as excavator, vehicles and boats required for treatment of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). The total amount of assistance reaches about 6,267,000(six million two hundred sixty-seven thousand) Solomon dollars. This assistance will enable the EOD team to develop the capacity to deal with residual UXO threats,” Yoshida said.
He said in Solomon Islands, a number of people are killed or injured by UXO every year, UXO continues to be a major obstacle to socio-economic development of Solomon Islands.
“Japan is fully aware that UXO is the important and urgent issues to be addressed and tries to solve it with EOD and other partners such as the United States and Australia closely,” Yoshida said.
“I strongly hope this project will contribute to the development of Solomon Islands through ensuring the safety of the land in rural communities.”
Yoshida adds by congratulating EOD team for the official approval and it is a great honour to support the development of EOD capacity within the RSIPF.
Officer Tunuki Officer in Charge of EOD said this UXO support project in conjunction with the continuous training, advising, mentoring and other support from Australia will ensure that RSIPF EOD remains capable of dealing with explosive ordinance.
“It will provide the capacity to increase UXO activities in remote provinces and ultimately assist with supporting the future UXO survey of Solomon Islands,” Tunuki said.
He said this UXO support project will also augment the Solomon Islands whole of government initiative to the UXO problem and will greatly assist with future expansion of the EOD team.
“Indeed this is another milestone of support. I wish to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation and thank you to the government of Japan through the Embassy office for this generous support and assistance to RSIPF EOD capability.”