UXO – Unexploded Bombs along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Attapeu, Laos.
Above Photo: An unexploded 1,000lb US bomb lies in the jungle of the tri-border area near the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
One issue BACK deals with are the modern dangers still lurking from the Vietnam War, which threaten trekkers in the jungles of Laos.
As my fictional backpackers head towards the much-bombed Ho Chi Minh Trail in the tri-border area of Attapeu Province, where the borders of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam all meet, they are increasingly confronted by these very real dangers.
Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world with over 2 million tons of ordnance dropped by US planes between 1964 and 1973 in nearly 600,000 bombing missions. UXO Lao estimate that 80 million cluster bomblets alone still remain unexploded in the jungles and rice fields of Laos, and that 50,000 people have been killed or injured in Laos by UXO since the end of the Vietnam War.
It will take many years to clear the jungle of unexploded ordnance, and UXO Lao and the mine clearance organisations do an incredible job out there, often in very challenging conditions.
I plan to feature more of the unique dangers and problems UXO teams have to encounter in defusing unexploded ordnance in the jungles of Laos, ranging from the amount of ordnance, its instability, the remoteness of many areas where it is found, challenges presented by the rainy season, fording rivers, getting stuck in deep mud and lugging enormous bombs out of the jungles and rivers of the tri-border area.
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.
And for POWs left behind in Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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