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?
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.
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.