Laos: The CIA's Secret War
In tiny, southeast asian Laos some 80 million unexploded bombs, or UXO's, still wait to detonate. On both sides of the Ho Chi Minh trails, behind every rocky outcrop and around waterholes, invisible lines and tangents mark a clans language, a tigers habitat and numorous minefields. To cross a line might invite destiny, or even death. Yet that is how the Lao live today.
As the worlds eyes were fixed on the Vietnam War, the CIA secretly bombed neighboring Laos from 1963-1972, in an attemp to disrupt North Vietnamese supply routes on the Ho Chi Minh trails going through Laos. Over 250 million bombs were unleashed on the country, making it the most heavily bombed country on Earth, even though Laos and the US wasn't at war.
Today the remaining bombs kill an average of one person per day, mostly children. Many places locals fear to plow the fields, and poor people gather the bombs to sell as scrap metal to buy food, killing themselves in the process. Every year the rainy monsoon further transport the bombs to new areas, contaminating more farmland, hindering socioeconomic development. So far UXO Laos, the national de-mining organization, have cleared less the 1% of the bombed areas. The process is difficult and expensive, and Laos is poor. According to the organization, it will be another 150 years before Laos is cleared:
The last victim of CIA's secret war hasn't even been born yet.