The UXO problem in Laos: statistics

Laos is the most heavily bombed country, per capita, in history. The figures below from the Laos Government show the scale of the problem.

This footage of air-dropped cluster bombs releasing submunitions is courtesy of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector in Laos.

• There were more than 580,000 bombing missions on Laos from 1964 to 1973 during the Vietnam War.

• That's equivalent to one bombing mission every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years.

• Over two million tons of ordnance was dropped on the country, with up to 30 per cent failing to explode as designed.

• More than 270 million cluster munitions (or ‘bombies’, as they are known locally) were used; up to 80 million failed to detonate, remaining live and in the ground after the end of the war.

• Approximately 25 per cent of the country's villages are contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO).

• All 17 provinces suffer from UXO contamination.

• More than 50,000 people were killed or injured as a result of UXO accidents from 1964 to 2008.

• From the end of the war in 1974 to 2008, more than 20,000 people were killed or injured as a result of UXO accidents.

•  There have been approximately 300 new casualties annually over the last decade.

•  Over the last decade 40 per cent of total casualties were children.

Source: National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action in Lao PDR website

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