Unexploded Ordnance: In-depth

Alt text for imageClearing the bombs. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR/Valter Ziantoni

Improving safety through UXO removal

In 2016 alone, UXO Lao, supported by UNDP and its Development Partners, released 3,300 hectares of land through clearance and technical survey. Since the programme began in 1996, more than 61,000 hectares of land – 610 square kilometres – have been cleared and more than 1.8 million items of UXO destroyed. This removal of UXO increases the safety of people in nearby communities and expands the amount of land available for agriculture and other development activities. UXO Lao also clears land in support of international development projects, including construction of schools, hospitals, health care centres and marketplaces. Using a new, evidence-based survey methodology, UXO Lao now focuses clearance more efficiently on areas identified as contaminated with UXO. This approach has already seen an immense increase in the number of UXO items removed per hectare and will eventually lead to further attention to land clearly defined as hazardous rather than areas considered to be of lower risk. 

Increasing awareness through Mine Risk Education

Mine risk education activities are designed to increase the awareness of people living in UXO-affected areas about the dangers of unexploded ordnance. In 2014, Mine Risk Education textbooks were updated and broadcasting of UXO information by radio expanded to more provinces. In 2016 alone, a total of 145,000 people in Lao PDR, including 73,500 children, benefited from mine risk education, which is adapted for specific age groups through puppet shows, songs, dances, and games. During this period, residents of 620 villages and schools received community awareness.