From 1964 to 1973 the Americans waged an undeclared ‘secret war’ against the communists in Laos as part of their struggle against the Vietnamese.
A group of German bomb disposal experts are cleaning up what was left behind. An estimated 2 million tonnes of bombs were dropped in the region – more than in the whole of WW II.
If you’re interested in the tragedy of America’s secret bombing of Laos during the Indochina war, Phonsavan is the place to visit .No buildings survived the extensive bombing in this area, and many of the new ones sport the latest architectural design element of bomb pieces in their structure.
Some pieces are still live. UXO Lao, the national programme to clear bombs and educate the public on safety issues, is working hard in this area, but there is still a long way to go.
Laos has been a dumping ground for other people’s bombs and a battleground for other peoples wars for the last 100 years resulting in the dubious distinction of being per capita the most bombed country on earth.
Hikers should always use a guide and never kick or pick up man-made metal objects as unexploded bombs litter the countryside and claim the lives of hundreds of locals every year. It is wise to stick to the pathways.