Communities in Laos are in danger from unexploded bombs

Almost five decades after the devastating Vietnam war, unexploded bombs are still claiming lives today.

The communities of Laos are forced to navigate their lives around the millions of tons of explosives that were dropped during 580,000 bombing missions. That’s equivalent to a planeload of bombs being dropped on communities every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years.

Four decades after the war, these deadly items remain a threat and a daily reality for thousands of communities. Every bomb could kill. The harsh reality for people is that they are forced to use land contaminated with explosives. People know that each time they plow or plant a harvest or simply let their children play outside they are risking death or injury from a hidden bomb. Year after year they tread carefully, farm as small a patch as they can manage, and try to minimize the risks.

Working together, MAG and Restoration Laos are finally bringing the Vietnam War to an end, one village at a time. Every unexploded bomb cleared is a life saved, an opportunity for a village to grow, for children to learn and play, and for families to live without fear.

"I joined MAG in 2019 as a Technician. Growing up, I found many bombs when carrying out the daily tasks and I would report them to the village chief."

Noy, 23 years old, From Lang Khang village, Boualapha district, Khammouane

The lifesaving difference you can make

MAG has been working in Laos since 1994 and has teams of expert technicians working in Khammouane and Xieng Khoung provinces, searching out and destroying bombs in places where people live and work.

While the problem is vast, incremental progress matters: every paddy that is cleared can produce rice, and every school yard can become a place of play without fear of deadly explosions.

In April 2022, Michael and Darreby Ambler started Restoration Laos to fund one MAG clearance team - MAT 53 - which would otherwise not have existed. Having visited Laos as tourist Michael says; “The horror of the Vietnam War was part of my childhood. It was heartbreaking to learn this long-ago war is still killing people in Laos, and making them afraid to live on their own land.”

Mine Action Team 53 is an all-female team of 13 Lao nationals, trained and deployed by MAG. In 2024, the team will clear bombs from several villages in rural Khammouane Province, making over 220,000m² safe and restoring safe and productive land to over a thousand inhabitants. The 2024 budget to run this team is expected to be approximately $145,000.

A gift from you today could help continue the deployment of this team so that contaminated land can be cleared of explosives, making it safe for families to rebuild their lives and livelihoods free from fear.