Step into the reality of a UXO clearance team

Nov 29, 2016

The bombs below is UNDP's first Virtual Reality film

Sounds of an aircraft. A white screen. Bombs floating down to earth around a hand-drawn image of a tree. The tree and the surrounding hills are gaining in colour, slowly coming alive with people, and we are on top of a breezy hill, in North-Eastern Laos, Xieng Khouang Province. The tree is in front of us, but as we turn, we hear the whistling sound of metal detectors and find ourselves in the midst of a team of UXO clearance technicians. UXO. Unexploded ordnance. They are all around us. 

UNDP Lao PDR has taken UXO Lao's 20th anniversary as an opportunity to produce UNDP's first Virtual Reality film and put the viewer right into the field, with a demining team. Through the power of virtual reality, we witness the extreme work of this team, and follow Saysamone, the team leader and her crew.

Half a century ago, over the course of 9 years, 270 million bombs were dropped on Laos. Up to a third of these bombs are yet to explode. For 20 years, UXO Lao, the national clearance operator, has been clearing bombs and educating communities to make Laos safer for its people. 

Virtual Reality films are a new format of storytelling, where the scene is captured with 360 degree cameras. Viewed through a Virtual Reality headset and with the help of earphones, the viewer is fully immersed in the scene. 

The production of The bombs below started in early 2016, with the team members travelling to Xieng Khouang Province for capturing footage during July 2016. The film was launched on UN Day 2016 at an event displaying the relationship between sustainable development and new technologies.  

“Bringing the day-to-day work of a UXO Lao field team into homes around the globe is an evocative way of raising awareness and funds for such an important issue,” says Kaarina Immonen, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator. 

The launch of a national Sustainable Development Goal, goal 18 on "Lives safe from UXO" shows the Lao Government's commitment to close the chapter of unexploded war remnants as quickly as possible. The bombs below supports this effort by bringing the issue alive for people outside the borders of Laos, in the most evocative way. 

Please note: Currently, Safari and Explorer browsers don’t support the 360 degree view. Switch to other browsers to get the full experience. Drag the screen to look around you or use a headset to immerse yourself totally. 

Contact

Ms. Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo

Head of Public Information Unit, UNDP Lao PDR

ildiko.hamos@undp.org

Tel.: 021 267 778

Mobile: 020 7717 7913

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