Could you COPE?

June 25, 2009 · 2 comments

Laos map with known bombing data

Laos map with known bombing data

Laos is the most bombed country in the world, mostly due to the USA heavy attacks during the Vietnam war when the Vietnamese moved into Laos in an attempt to hide.

The map to the left shows (as a red dot) every bomb attack on Laos.

One of the weapons of choice was the cluster bomb, which detonates a large bomb mid air and sprays a lot of small bombs (also known as bombies or bomlets) on the ground below causing massive devastation.

Some of these unexploded ordinance (UXO) are still around having not exploded on impact and as dangerous today as they were when they were dropped 40+ years ago. They regularly maim people as they accidently step on them or children having an interest in a alien piece of metal near their home.

Due to the recent high demand in scrap metal and increase in its value, Laoations are collecting these bombs hoping to pay for a better life… can you see where this is going?

A demonstration cluster bomb exploding

A demonstration cluster bomb exploding

Genuine accidents from childrens curiousity is also a contributing factor to the recent increase in accidents. There is said to be about 20-80 million small bombs still about, and therefore someone has to help the victims of these tragic events.

Prosthetic legs on bench

Prosthetic legs on bench

COPE is an organisation doing just that so I went to visit their moving exhibition showing examples of the cluster bomblets and home made prosthetic legs some victims have made and donated since getting a new one.

Donated prosthetic legs from victims

Donated prosthetic legs from victims

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex September 20, 2009 at 4:56 AM

Quite a morbid museum! Very interesting all the same though.

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AdventureRob September 20, 2009 at 10:04 AM

It certainly is, I think anyone who passed through Vientiane should pop in though to see what these guys are doing.

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