Members of Laos' National Assembly will actively get involved in finding countries responsible for the remaining unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, hoping to urge them to become more engaged in resolving this problem.
The deputies discussed this effort at the recently-ended 7th session of the National Assembly as part of a public campaign to find countries that would take responsibility for the bombs that have remained intact all over Laos since the Indochina wars.
While no responsible country was mentioned by name, it was understood to be the United States whose aircrafts, according to a report by UXO-Lao, dropped some three million tons of bombs on Laos during more than 500,000 flights between 1964 and 1973.
Moreover, a survey also found that 30 per cent of the UXO are unexploded and account for more than 270 million units covering an area of more than 87,200 square kilometers in 15 out of 17 provinces in Laos or one third of the nation's lands.
The huge number of the remaining UXO and obstacles in searching for and clearing UXO make it difficult for citizens to live their normal lives. From 1992 up until the end of 2008, more than 13,000 villagers from 2,500 villages or about 25 percent of the total villages in Laos fell victims of landmines. In most cases, villagers stepped on landmines while trying to cultivate their lands. Several children were either killed or injured due to their ignorance and unawareness of the danger posed by UXO.
Since 1996, UXO-Lao has managed to clear only about one percent of all remaining unexploded ordnance from the country's arable lands, and spent over 40 million dollars of foreign aid.
Songrit Pongern reported in Lao and summarized in English. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.