01 August 2017

News Story: Laos calls for enhanced int'l cooperation to eradicate UXO

VIENTIANE, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Some 23 people have been injured or killed as a result of exploding unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos so far in 2017, government officials said here Monday while calling for enhanced international efforts.

In 2016 the number was 59, the Lao government said ahead of the seventh anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which falls on Tuesday.

Up to 30 percent of the total 270 million cluster munitions dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War did not detonate, according to a report by Lao state-run media Vientiane Times.

Around 80 million bomblets remained scattered and buried over much of the country's landmass, and it is not clear how many of these remain a live threat, the report said.

The hazards of UXO correlate to poverty levels, with the most contaminated districts in the country often also being among the poorest, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Khampheng Saysompheng said at a ceremony marking the Convention.

Read the full story at Xinhua