Photo courtesy of obotology
UXO Laos Visitor Center
Many Americans are aware of the devastation caused by the Vietnam War, but perhaps more harrowing was the U.S. involvement in Laos. In an effort to halt the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia, American forces carried out 580,000 bombing missions in Laos between 1964 and 1973, dropping more than 2 million ordnances—the equivalent of a planeload of bombs every eight minutes nonstop for nine years. According to some estimates, one third of the country is still plagued with UXO, or unexploded ordnances. At the UXO Laos Visitor Center, a little south of the heart of the city, guests can view weapons displays and learn more about the offensive, how Laos became the most heavily bombed country per capita in history, and how the country continues to deal with the effects of the bombings to this day.
By Sanjay Surana, AFAR Contributor