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Lao women leading effort to clear millions of unexploded bombs left over from Vietnam War

By Sally Sara

Women are on the frontline of the effort to find and destroy millions of unexploded cluster bombs which are still claiming lives decades after being dropped on Laos.

The US dropped up to 260 million cluster bombs on Laos during the Vietnam War - the equivalent of one bombing mission every eight minutes, for nine years.

It left Laos as the most heavily bombed country, per capita, in the world.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

© ABC

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Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): Damage, Loss and Needs Assessment (DaLNA) in Khammouane Province, Lao PDR

From 24 to 26 June 2011, Typhoon Haima swept through the northern and central provinces of Lao PDR, causing widespread flooding in four provinces – Bolikhamxay, Xayaboury, Vientiane, and Xiengkhouang. The floods caused extensive damage to people’s livelihoods, property, and to social and physical infrastructure.

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Planning, Budgeting and Financing: Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction Activities in Khammouane Province, Lao PDR

This guideline on planning, budgeting and financing guides all provincial and district government officials to prepare a recovery plan which is responsive to the outcomes of the Damage, Loss, and Needs Assessments in Khammouane province.

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Malaria outbreaks remain worrisome but progress is being made in response and control

Despite a substantial reduction of the malaria burden, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic continues to experience outbreaks and the country’s first-line drugs are beginning to lose effectiveness. A national strategy is being developed to tackle the challenge.

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Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Floods MDRLA003 DREF Final Report

Appeal history:

  • A DREF Operation was initially launched on 3 October 2013 for CHF 292,168 to support Lao Red Cross (LRC) in delivering immediate assistance to 10,000 beneficiaries (2,000 families) for six months and to further assess needs.

  • Operations Update 1 (dated 6 November 2013) reported on initial steps to procure in-country relief goods and plans for Thai Red Cross to provide in-kind support in terms of staff to be deployed to LRC.

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World Bank Provides Grant for Disaster Risk Management in Lao PDR

Report
World Bank

Vientiane, June 11, 2014 --- The Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has received a technical assistance grant of $900,000 from the World Bank/Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the Building Resilience to Natural Hazards Project.

This project seeks to enhance the disaster risk management capacity of Lao PDR by strengthening the legal framework for hydro-meteorological services, enhancing post-disaster recovery planning, and providing technical assistance to strengthen Lao PDR’s fiscal resilience to natural hazards.

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This farmer can now work safely on his land for the first time in 40 years

Sithon will treasure this planting season as a special one: for the first time since the Vietnam War he could seed his rice safely, after MAG cleared almost 400 explosive weapons from his land.

Reporting by Eva Hegedus, Programme Officer, MAG Laos

"There were bombies [the local term for cluster submunitions] everywhere." Fifty-nine year old Sithon Manyvong recalls returning home to Naphia in 1975 after the Vietnam War had ended.

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GIEWS Country Brief: Lao People's Democratic Republic 30-May-2014

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • The 2014 rice production forecast to decrease for the second consecutive year
  • The 2013 rice production revised downward
  • Cereal exports in 2014, mostly maize, forecast at last year’s level
  • Food insecurity is of concern in parts of the country
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Laos “land grabs” drive subsistence farmers into deeper poverty

Report
IRIN

BAN HOUYTHAO, 22 May 2014 (IRIN) - "Land grabs" in Laos are driving poor farmers, including ethnic minorities, off their land, away from livelihoods they know and into further poverty, activists and experts say.

IRIN:

A selection of IRIN reports are posted on ReliefWeb. Find more IRIN news and analysis at http://www.irinnews.org

Une sélection d'articles d'IRIN sont publiés sur ReliefWeb. Trouvez d'autres articles et analyses d'IRIN sur http://www.irinnews.org

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. Refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use.

Cet article ne reflète pas nécessairement les vues des Nations Unies. Voir IRIN droits d'auteur pour les conditions d'utilisation.

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Disaster Management Reference Handbook - Lao PDR

Executive Summary

This country book focusing on Laos is intended to be a reference for individuals deploying to conduct disaster preparedness engagements or disaster response operations in Laos, but it is not meant to be a checklist or manual for all disaster response operations. The research team conducted extensive research and analysis on existing Lao plans, policies, and capabilities related to disaster management and risk reduction. The team also reached out to United States Government (USG) stakeholders and open source research to compile this book.

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How cluster bomb clearance changes lives

MAG and DFATD* are making it safe for families in Laos to grow crops on land that was contaminated by cluster munitions.

During the Vietnam War, 580,000 bombing missions were conducted over neighbouring Laos – that’s one mission every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years.

Mr Khamdee lives in Dang village in Khammouane Province, central Laos, close to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was heavily targeted by the aerial bombardment.

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When the ground isn’t safe – Playing football in the shadow of cluster bombs

19-year-old Mini Phanthavong is a talented football player from Phonsavan, a town about 400km north of Laos’ capital Vientiane. At the age of 16, he joined his football-playing friends on an incredible journey to Sweden, where they competed in the largest youth football tournament of the world.

Playing football in Sweden is different from playing in Laos. Not only is Sweden on the other side of the world and has it got lots of lush flat grass to play on; in Sweden Mini did not have to fear kicking the ball off the football pitch into a cluster bomb contaminated area.

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Mine Awareness Day: The Vietnam War is still claiming victims

Report
ACT Alliance

April 4th is International Mine Awareness Day and DanChurchAid tells the story of Laos. The country where millions of bombs were dropped during the Vietnam War, and how the bombs still pose an everyday threat for the civilians in Laos

02.04.2014 by Nikolaj Søndergaard

Usually it is a bit of an overstatement when someone says, it is ‘raining’ something – but to characterize the bombardments of Laos during the Vietnam War as ‘raining bombs’ is actually quite accurate.

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Zambian President of the Convention on Cluster Munitions visits most heavily affected country Laos

In his capacity as President of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Zambian Minister Hon. Wylbur C. Simuusa has paid a visit to Laos.

Laos is the country most heavily contaminated by cluster munition remnants, left over from bombings during the Indochina War of the 1960s and 1970s. During this period the United States dropped over 2 million tons of ordnance over Laos in 580,000 bombing missions. At least 270 million cluster bomblets were dropped as part of the bombing campaign; approximately 80 million failed to detonate.

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LYL in Lao PDR

In the lead up to the Mine Ban Treaty’s Third Review Conference in June, the Lao Ban Advocates (BA), a group of cluster munition survivors supported by Handicap International, marked the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action with the Lend Your Leg campaign. This campaign aims to show solidarity and support to the victims of landmines and cluster munitions and to promote the Universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.

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The 2013 Laos Floods: Responding to a disaster through a unique peer-to-peer cooperation between National Societies

In September 2013, seasonal flooding in two southern provinces of Laos were the worst experienced in 30 years. The Lao Red Cross, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), French and Thai Red Cross, have been conducting a relief operation since October to assist 10,000 people with food, hygiene and non-food items. The IFRC released 300,000 Swiss francs from the disaster relief emergency fund to support the activities. The DREF operation closes on 2 April 2014.

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More work on HIV in Laos needed

Report
IRIN

VIENTIANE, 12 March 2014 (IRIN) - Health officials say more work is needed to fight HIV/AIDS in Laos, which has an over-reliance on foreign donors and lack of government support, as well as limited treatment coverage and a widespread gap in awareness and testing.

IRIN:

A selection of IRIN reports are posted on ReliefWeb. Find more IRIN news and analysis at http://www.irinnews.org

Une sélection d'articles d'IRIN sont publiés sur ReliefWeb. Trouvez d'autres articles et analyses d'IRIN sur http://www.irinnews.org

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. Refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use.

Cet article ne reflète pas nécessairement les vues des Nations Unies. Voir IRIN droits d'auteur pour les conditions d'utilisation.

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EU aid to eliminate UXO threats in Lao PDR

Report
European Union

The European Union (EU) is providing more than €2.3 million ($3.2millon) aid to assist vulnerable people, ethnic minorities and those living in Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) plagued areas in Laos.

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Laos's urban-rural WASH divide

Report
IRIN

VIENTIANE, 5 March 2014 (IRIN) - Laos has been growing at 8 percent a year over the past decade but rural areas, where most people still live, are being left behind in terms of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, health experts warn.

Nearly half of the Lao rural population practices open defecation, the second highest rate in Southeast Asia, says a 2013 UN joint monitoring report.

IRIN:

A selection of IRIN reports are posted on ReliefWeb. Find more IRIN news and analysis at http://www.irinnews.org

Une sélection d'articles d'IRIN sont publiés sur ReliefWeb. Trouvez d'autres articles et analyses d'IRIN sur http://www.irinnews.org

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. Refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use.

Cet article ne reflète pas nécessairement les vues des Nations Unies. Voir IRIN droits d'auteur pour les conditions d'utilisation.

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Little help for UXO victims in Laos

Report
IRIN

VIENTIANE, 27 February 2014 (IRIN) - Around 25 percent of villages in Laos are contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXOs), mainly from US bombing missions between 1964 and 1973, according to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme, and while UXO casualties have fallen sharply in recent years there is little support for UXO victims, whose injuries can drastically affect their families.

IRIN:

A selection of IRIN reports are posted on ReliefWeb. Find more IRIN news and analysis at http://www.irinnews.org

Une sélection d'articles d'IRIN sont publiés sur ReliefWeb. Trouvez d'autres articles et analyses d'IRIN sur http://www.irinnews.org

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. Refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use.

Cet article ne reflète pas nécessairement les vues des Nations Unies. Voir IRIN droits d'auteur pour les conditions d'utilisation.