War debris (UXO - Unexploded Ordnance) on display in rural home
Ban Naphia, Phaxay District, Xieng Khouang Province, Laos, Southeast Asia
Laos is the most bombed country in the world. From 1964-73, during what we call the Vietnam War (properly called the Second Indochina War, equally involving Laos and Cambodia), more than 2 million tons of bombs (6 million conventional bombs & 100 million cluster bombs) were dropped on Laos by the US, especially in Eastern provinces along the border with Vietnam, with the aim of destroying the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos. The rather abstract figure of "2 million tons" can be given perspective: It is equivalent to a fully loaded bomber flying a mission every 8 minutes, 24 hours every day for 9 years. Or: It is equivalent to 750kg of explosives for every man, woman and child in Laos.
In the first 25 years after the war, over 11,000 people were killed or injured from UXO. 40% of UXO victims were killed outright and many of these victims were children.
Despite numerous ongoing bomb clearing projects, much of the area is still contaminated, many bombs remain and continue to maim and kill, especially in remote, rural areas, making it difficult for people to work and farm the land