Scars of War Remain for Laotian Farmers

Land littered with bombs makes subsistence farming a more dire proposition
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2008 3:14 PM CDT
Farmers place seeds at their family garden at a village in Vientiane, 19 March 2006.    (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – As if surviving as a farmer in the developing world wasn't hard enough, for those in Laos there is an extra—often deadly—complication. The US littered the Southeast Asian nation with 2 million tons of explosives during the Vietnam War, one-third of which remain precariously unexploded, and responsible for an unquantified weekly death toll, reports Gourmet in a look at the complicated task of removing them.

"Digging is dangerous," says a worker for a New Zealand-based removal operation that tracks down—not always successfully—and detonates unexploded ordnances spotted by locals. "We're afraid. Our garden is here," says one young Laotian who smiles, relieved, as the team blows up a bomb found nearby. (Read more Laos stories.)