Why MAG is needed in Lao PDR
Lao PDR is the most bombed country in the world per capita. More than two million tons of ordnance was dropped on the country during the Second Indochina War. Up to 30 per cent of some types of ordnance did not detonate.
The Lao Government has shown that unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination still affects more than 25 per cent of Lao villages. [The unexploded ordnance problem in Lao PDR: statistics]
Between 1999 and 2008, there were 2,184 casualties (including 834 deaths) from UXO incidents1 and more than 50,000 people have been killed or injured as a result of UXO accidents since 1964.
UXO contamination also remains a key cause of poverty and is one of the prime factors limiting the country's long-term development, preventing people from using land and denying access to basic services.
As in other South East Asia countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam, collecting scrap metal is a major cause of UXO accidents. Forced into the trade by poverty, people risk their lives using primitive detectors to hunt for scrap: normally what they find is harmless, but there’s always the risk it could be a deadly bomb.
Your donation to MAG helps us to move into current and former conflict zones to clear the
remnants of conflict, enabling recovery and assisting the development
of affected populations.
How to donate and where your money goes
How MAG is helping in Lao PDR
From 2004 to June 2012, MAG cleared more than 38.7 million square metres of suspect land in Lao PDR, destroying 161,802 items of UXO. As a result, 450,894 beneficiaries gained more safe land for farming, clean drinking water, latrines, irrigation for rice cropping, safe school compounds and tertiary roads.
MAG undertakes all UXO clearance in line with the development priorities outlined in the Government of Lao's National Growth and Poverty Eradication Scheme.
We often conduct UXO clearance on land in remote and vulnerable communities in partnership with key development agencies such as CARE and World Vision.
During 2012, MAG Lao PDR is assisting the government and other NGOs in targeting UXO clearance for those most in need. The new ‘District Focused Approach’ aims to identify where land can be cleared for the maximum benefit of these communities, by surveying households and villages about UXO contamination and their planned use of land.
This data is then analysed, along with Government and NGO development plans, to enable accurate identification of UXO clearance priorities. The DFA has been trailed in one district already, and there are plans to roll out the methodology to two more districts in late-2012.
As a result of MAG's work from 2004 to June 2012, 450,894 people in Lao PDR gained more safe land for farming, clean drinking water, latrines, irrigation for rice cropping, safe school compounds and tertiary roads.
Additionally, MAG gives jobs to those who need them most, investing in, training and employing staff from the local population in order to build a robust and sustainable national workforce.
More about MAG's work in Lao PDR
Photo gallery: LAO PDR – Living with the bomb [2004-2006]
Photo gallery: LAO PDR – A lethal trade [2004-2006]. You may find some of these photographs disturbing.
Photo gallery: LAO PDR – The solutions [2004-2006]
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Page last updated: August 2012