Author Topic: True, this invisible killer is still killing folks in Laos 50 yrs later  (Read 80 times)

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Offline theking

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Dispatch: The invisible killer haunting Laos 50 years after the Vietnam War
Laos was heavily bombed between 1964 and 1973 and unexploded munitions are littered, dormant but deadly, across much of the country

At first glance, the scene is unremarkable: women in wide-brimmed hats are dotted across a rice paddy field nestled in the Laotian mountains, toiling under the relentless sun.

But instead of sickles, the women are carrying heavy metal detectors. Their buckets aren’t full of the staple crop, but scraps long buried in the ground. And at the edge of the plot, an ominous sign with red skulls screams “DANGER”.

At this site just outside the tiny village of Sop Hun, decontaminatio n technicians are meticulously clearing up the legacy of a “secret war” so intense it earned Laos – then home to fewer than three million people – the grim status of the world’s most bombed nation per capita.

Between 1964 and 1973, as the US attempted to suppress communism in southeast Asia and cut off North Vietnam’s supply lines, American pilots unleashed more than two million tonnes of ordnance on this landlocked county in 580,000 attack sorties. On average, a planeload of bombs was dropped on Laos every eight minutes for almost a decade.

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