Laos is the most heavily bombed nation, per capita, in history. It was hit by an average of one B-52 bomb-load every eight minutes between 1964-1973. The UXO Visitor’s Centre in Luang Prabang offers you the chance to learn more about the Secret War.
1. Find out the facts
The US dropped more bombs on Laos between ’64-‘73 than those used during WWII. A large percentage of the ‘bombies’ that rained down on Laos remain unexploded which means they pose a huge risk to the people of Laos. Find out the facts about this deadly war at the UXO Centre where you can view a map of UXO clearing sites, find out how many bombies have already been removed from the land, and read information on the walls about casualty and injury rates.
2. See real-life bombies
Each week, teams leave from the Luang Prabang UXO headquarters to go out into the field and safely remove unexploded ordinance. They are specialists who work in dangerous environments under a huge amount of pressure…and they are saving many lives. At the center you can see lots of real-life bombies and bombie cases that have been removed from various parts of Luang Prabang province and surrounding areas.
3. Survivor stories
There are several displays at the centre which offer an insight into the lives of those in Laos who have been injured or killed by UXOs. One of the biggest issues in the country today is that money can be made from selling the scrap metal from bombie cases, which means many locals are willing to risk their lives to collect these remnants of war. Sometimes, during their attempt to take a piece of metal home, it explodes. The results are catastrophic.
4. Bomb Harvest
The UXO Centre has a multimedia room where you can watch a moving documentary called Bomb Harvest which was made by an Australian filmmaker. It follows a team of Aussie specialists who travel to Laos to train locals in bomb removal. It include semotional interviews with those whose lives have been greatly affected by the Secter War and lots of fascinating facts about how Laos has been affected by this issue.
5. Make a donation
The UXO team relies on the generosity of visitors to the centre to continue their amazing work. Entry to the center is free but many tourists feel moved to make a donation. When you consider how many lives are saved each year thanks to the UXO team removing unexploded ordinance from villages, rice fields and roadsides– it’s a cause worth supporting if you are able to afford a contribution.