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Construction work may disturb unsuspected unexploded bombs, which may then explode.

The program intends to rid Colombia of landmines and other UXO by 2021 and it has been funded with nearly US$112 million, including US$30 million from the US (as part of the larger US foreign policy Plan Colombia) and US$9.4 million from the EU.UXO from World War I continue to be a hazard, with poisonous gas filled munitions still a problem.When unwanted munitions are found, they are sometimes destroyed in controlled explosions, but accidental detonation of even very old explosives also occurs, sometimes with fatal results.Regarding land mines, 78 countries are contaminated and they kill 15–20,000 people every year while severely maiming countless more.Approximately 80% of casualties are civilian, with children as the most affected age group.A dramatic example of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) threat is the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, sunk in shallow water about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the town of Sheerness and 5 miles (8.0 km) from Southend, which still contains 1,400 tons of explosives.

When the deeper World War II wreck of the Kielce, carrying a much smaller load of explosives, exploded in 1967, it produced an earth tremor measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale.

The bomb which killed and injured the EOD personnel was of a particularly dangerous type because it was fitted with a delayed-action chemical fuze (with an integral anti-handling device) which had not operated as designed, but had become highly unstable after over 65 years underground.

In January 2013 a large undetected World War II bomb was detonated on a building site in Euskirchen by a digger moving debris, killing the operator, wounding eight others, and causing damage across a wide area—windows were shattered several miles away.

For this reason it is universally recommended that unexploded ordnance should not be touched or handled by unqualified persons.

Instead, the location should be reported to the local police so that bomb disposal or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) professionals can render it safe.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO, sometimes abbreviated as UO), unexploded bombs (UXBs), or explosive remnants of war (ERW) are explosive weapons (bombs, shells, grenades, land mines, naval mines, cluster munition, etc.) that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation, sometimes many decades after they were used or discarded.