Culture

America’s shame: The unspoken danger of Lao’s hidden bombs

23 Aug , 2016  

It was learning about UXO, originally in Cambodia (2010) and then Laos (2011), that is one of the motivators if me becoming involved with my volunteer work. If you don’t know what happened, here is a brief article about the problem.

Article by Dung Phan 21 Aug 2016

It was a cold day in Laos, and huddled around a fire for warmth was Sak and his brother and friends. He was playing with a rusty ball, assuming it was safe, but it went off before Sak’s mother managed to stop him.

“I was in shock when I saw my son and other children lying down on the ground covered in blood,” she said. Five decades after US combat troops dropped them; the American-­made cluster bomb did what it was designed to do. One lost his leg, four children died, and even more were injured.

It was an unexploded ordinance (UXO) left over from the Vietnam War. American warplanes dropped more than 270 million such bombs in Laos, turning the poor, landlocked country into the most bombed per capita country in the world. Since the war ended, more than 8,000 people have been killed, and about 12,000 injured.

Hidden costs

When the bombs hit the ground, lots of them did not explode on impact but remained hidden. Of more than one-third of Laos’ contaminated territory, only 1% has been cleared so far. An average of 500 people have been killed each year, most of whom were forced to work in contaminated fields to sustain their families.

Read the full article at Asean today

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1 Response

  1. David says:

    President Obama is here in Laos today. It is great the US has committed $90 million to clearing bombs from Laos. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37286520

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