Vietnam War Bombs in Sepon, Laos.
Above Photo: Me walking past defused Vietnam War ordnance in Sepon, lugging a dirty great backpack.
If I could sum up in one photograph my recent trip around Laos, the above would be it. It was taken in a hotel in a new town called Sepon, near the Vietnamese border.
Sepon is a key town on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which makes it very relevant for my novel, BACK, and the events that befall modern-day backpackers as they too head into the jungle to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, looking for something left behind from the Vietnam War.
The old town of Sepon, called Tchepone during the Vietnam War, was totally obliterated by bombing, hence the plethora of large bombs dropped by US planes which can be seen around the modern town today.
The ones in the headline photo have obviously been defused and then incorporated into a decorative feature in the Vieng Xay Hotel in Sepon, where we stayed.
But vast quantities of unexploded ordnance from the Vietnam War still litter the jungles and farmland of Laos, and will likely do so for generations to come. The task of detection, defusing and safe detonation undertaken by UXO Lao is truly daunting.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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