Laotian Women Digging for American ‘Bombies’ — Still

A friend who has been following my recent trip to Southeast Asia, including a report from the COPE facility in Vientiane, Laos and the Tuol Sleng torture prison in Phnom Penh, forwarded me this recent article from the Financial Times [Update at end]

During the Vietnam war, the US dropped more than 270 million cluster munitions over Laos. Many of these “bombies”, as they are known locally, failed to detonate and remained on the ground as death traps. The last bomb fell on Laos in 1973, but at least 20,000 people have been killed or injured since by unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the country remains the most heavily bombed, per capita, in history.

Lao bombies

In November I went to Xieng Khouang, one of the most contaminated provinces, where death and injury from UXO is part of everyday life. I was there to document the work of UCT6, an all-female UXO clearance team and one of seven in the province working for the Mines Advisory Group (Mag), a humanitarian organisation clearing the remnants of conflict worldwide.

The women of UCT6 know all too well the sudden tragedies that UXO can unleash.

Read all at Financial Times

Lao Woman Bomb clearing

Cross Posted at All In One Boat

Update: On April 4, an international action called Lend A Leg, aimed to publicize the continuing devastation done by landmines.  Read about it here.   Read at the sponsoring organization, Take Part.