Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actor Rosamund Pike has joined forces with landmine clearance charity the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to launch its Unlock the Land fundraising appeal.

The campaign aims to fund a brave team of women to clear deadly unexploded bombs, which remain a hidden threat to families in Laos decades after the end of war.  

Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita. Two million tons of explosives were dropped during 580,000 bombing missions — a planeload of bombs was dropped every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. More than four decades after the war, these deadly items remain a persistent threat and daily reality for thousands of communities across Laos.

Actress & MAG ambassador Rosamund Pike. Photo: Sean Sutton

Rosamund is MAG’s first-ever Ambassador and has supported the charity since travelling to Lebanon to see their work first-hand in 2017 in preparation for her role as war correspondent Marie Colvin in the film A Private War.

She said: “Clearance means kids can play safely and entire communities can develop and thrive instead of living in fear of bombs.

 “These communities need help right now and that’s why I’m backing the work of MAG and the brave deminers of Laos.

“Join me in helping MAG unlock the land for families in Laos so children can play in safety. I think they’ve been in danger for far too long, don’t you?”

Children from Vangkhom village. Photo: Bart Verweij

Every day, 19 people are reported killed or injured by landmines and unexploded bombs globally. Almost half of the civilian casualties of landmines are children.

Using highly trained staff and special machinery, MAG teams will find and destroy landmines and unexploded bombs, freeing communities from fear.

Minister for Asia and the Middle East Amanda Milling said:

“This month I saw first-hand the work of MAG’s courageous, lifesaving clearance teams in Laos. By removing the threat of unexploded bombs they allow children to play safely and families to earn an income through farming.

“The generous support of the British public for MAG’s appeal will enable people to get on with their lives and to rebuild their communities. The UK Government will match every donation pound by pound to MAG’s appeal up to £2m, making twice the difference.”

Anoutsala Phichit, MAG Team Leader in Laos. Photo: Bart Verweij

Ms. Anoutsala Phichit, is one of MAG’s Team Leaders, who will be responsible for clearing the unexploded bombs in Laos.

She said: “I am proud to see people in the community using land that me and my team have made safe, no longer worrying about the unexploded bombs.”

Darren Cormack, MAG’s CEO, said: “Clearing unexploded bombs is the first step in development, making areas safe for communities to build livelihoods, provide food and education and live without fear.

“Our vision is for a Laos where women, girls, boys and men live free from the fear and danger of unexploded bombs, where fear is not a barrier to people taking control of their futures.”

There has never been a better time to donate. Dig deep and help to unlock twice as much land. Give to Unlock the Land before 24 July and your donation will be doubled by the UK government. Matched funding will help MAG clear 161,600m2 of land, in Vangkhom, in Laos, which is the equivalent to almost 23 football pitches. Donations made by the British public will support MAG’s global work.