August 13

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Coping with COPE

Google-able Fact #2 – Lao PDR is the world’s most heavily bombed country per capita. More than 580,000 bombing missions were conducted over Lao by the US Air Force during the Vietnamese War (1955 – 1975) aimed at destroying the North Vietnamese Supply Ports.

Most of you may have already heard of or read the above. But what I didn’t know of until I visited the COPE Visitor Center this weekend was that of the 280 million bombs dropped over Lao, 80 million failed to detonate and still remain unexploded.

Watch the below video to get a brief insight into why COPE was born.                                   (Note: The volume of the video will be inaudible until you don’t have your speakers turned up to MAX. Apologies if you are still unable to hear but the pictorial form is quite self-explanatory)

 

More than 40 years after the end of the Second Indochina War, people in Lao continue to live in danger from unexploded ordnance (UXO) threatening their lives and hindering development. Without UXO clearance, development of any form in Lao is stalled.

MAG (http://archive.maginternational.org/about/) is a humanitarian organization working to secure Lao from these unexploded bombs. Log onto their website (link above) to know more and contribute if you wish to.

My thoughts: It was hard-hitting to see that because of a decade-long event that took place 40 years ago, the people of Lao PDR continue to suffer. Lao particularly thrives on mining and agriculture, and if the farmers in the rural areas are restricted to plough in a specific area with the fear of being exploded otherwise, it is costing this country a developed economy.                                                                                                                        P.S. – Make sure to visit this center if you ever travel to Lao.

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Documentaries you could watch..

 

Talking about visiting the country, here is a quick overview of what the approx. expenditure is like. (Christos – as promised (: )

Activity Average Cost
Accommodation in a decent guesthouse $30 – $40 per night
Meal at a decent café or restaurant $10-$15
Tuk-Tuk ride for a 10km distance $18 – $20
Bike rental for a day $10- $12
1GB data package – 30 day $8
1lt Bottle of Water/Pint of Beer $1.25 / $1.8

 

Stay tuned as always.

Khob Chai!

J.Mo