2018 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Laos

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

FUNDING FY15 FY16 FY17 FY95–17 TOTAL
DOS NADR - CWD 26,880 20,500 30,000 144,364
DOS Other 0 0 0 750
DoD 0 111 10 7,021
USAID 2,000 2,166 3,005 16,971
COUNTRY TOTAL 28,880 22,777 33,015 169,106

Dollars in thousands

LAOS

Cluster munitions, known locally as “bombies,” accounts for the bulk of UXO contamination in Laos, though landmines were also laid during the Indochina Wars of the 1960s and 1970s. The majority of the country’s 17 provinces are contaminated with UXO, most of which is of U.S. origin. Experts suggest that over 3,000 villages are still contaminated. Population growth in rural areas and other socioeconomic factors have increased demands to put UXO-contaminated land into productive use, which leads to greater risk of death and injury. In September 2016, the United States announced a plan to invest $90 million over a three-year period. These additional funds are supporting the first-ever comprehensive national UXO contamination survey while ongoing clearance and survivor assistance operations continue at 2015’s historically-high levels. To help manage this substantial increase in dedicated CWD funding, the Department of State hired an in-country UXO program advisor to oversee Phase I Survey projects on the ground.

Date: 2018 Description: A Lao member of an NPA cluster munitions remnants survey team, funded by PM/WRA, carefully exposes an unexploded cluster munition.
© Photo courtesy of NPA

From 1995 to 2017, the United States invested more than $169.1 million in CWD programs in Laos that supported survey and clearance activities, risk education, survivor assistance, and capacity development.

In 2017, the Department of State supported the following implementing partners:

  • HALO continued to support UXO clearance teams tasked with survey and removal of UXO in Savannakhet Province.
  • Health Leadership International continued to provide medical education and training to improve diagnostic capabilities and the overall competency of district-level medical personnel in UXO-affected districts.
  • Janus Global Operations (Janus) continued to partner with UXO Laos on UXO survey and clearance efforts, and provided managerial support to the National Regulatory Authority, which oversees all UXO-related activity in Laos.
  • MAG continued to support survey and clearance teams in Xieng Khouang Province.
  • NPA continued its evidence-based UXO survey work in the Sekong, Salavan, and Attapu Provinces.
  • SOS continued to provide risk education for schoolchildren through soccer activities in the Xieng Khouang and Salavan Provinces.
  • World Education, Inc. continued to support UXO survivors and their families through various projects including supporting the War Victim Medical Fund, which provides financial support for UXO victims and their families. It focuses on emergency medical, funeral, and other critical activities. World Education also continued to support the integration of risk education in the grade five school curriculum and development of a comprehensive case management system for UXO survivors in Xieng Khouang Province. Finally, World Education worked with government of Laos agencies to conduct a needs assessment of services available to UXO survivors.

With funding from the Department of Defense, HD R&D, in partnership with MAG, provided an aerial survey system to facilitate project planning and supervision.

USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund supported World Education in providing training for rehabilitation service personnel, economic empowerment, assistive technology delivery, and medical and physical rehabilitation for people with disabilities. Also, in partnership with the Department of State’s PM/WRA, USAID Leahy War Victims Fund supported World Education to improve and sustain the ability of people with disabilities to live and function independently. This assistance has prioritized UXO victims, victims of war and conflict, and people with disabilities with mobility limitations.