Mr. Douanchay Phichit, Laos Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, said recently that since the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Program or UXO-Lao was established in 1996, it has cleared over 13,037 hectares of lands of unexploded ordnances, but that area is still less 1 percent of all UXO-contaminated lands in the country.
A 1996 survey found that more than 87,000 square kilometers, out of a total 236,800 square kilometers in 14 provinces country-wide, are littered with unexploded ordnances or UXOs.
US warplanes dropped more than 2 million tons of bomb on Laos during the Vietnam war, including millions of “bombies” released from cluster bombs and approximately 30 percent of these bombies did not explode as intended.
In the last 8 years, Laos was able to destroyed more than 800,000 unexploded ordnances, but the risk from UXO is still high. Every year, more than 200 UXO-related accidents occurr and 50 percent of the victims are children.
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