Phonsavan Landmines and UXO Craters

Phonsavan is a well-known megalithic site with its hundreds, if not thousands of assumed burial jars. Hence, it is also known as the Plain of Jars. A little-known fact about the area is it is one of the most bombed places in the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world.The bombs even outnumber the population!

It has been a decade since America's Secret War on Laos but the countrys surface is still pockmarked with landmines and up until this day there are still a lot of UXO's(Unexploded Ordinance) and ERW's(Explosive Remnants of War) left undiscovered and just waiting to explode. Some of these are made into souvenirs like spoons or as home decorations. 

If you are in are where you notice that UXOs and ERWs are made used as home decorations, be very very careful and do not venture off the beaten path.
Spoon made from UXO. It is advised that visitors should not buy these so the locals will not continue to forage for UXOs. Photo Credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Crater's Restaurant. Photo Credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Photo Credit: Dominik M. Ramík

When in Phonsavan, learn more about the plight of the land and its people by visiting the British ran Mines Advisory Group (MAG) information center. 
Photo Credit: Dominik M. Ramík

The group has been training the locals and helping them clear vast tracts of land from UXO's and ERW's. Do you know that the majority of people working on these teams are women? Go girl power!

The center displays actual defused UXO's. You will be amazed that they come in different "models" and sizes. How can man use his brain to create such evil?

You can help by donating money which will go into landmine clearing operations.
Photo Credit: Dominik M. Ramík

Drop by late in the afternoon and you can watch documentaries on the war like the Bomb Harvest, Surviving the Peace and the Bombies. All of these are eye-opening, soul-shattering, and tear-jerkers.

Along the road, you will also see the UXO Survival Information Center. You can drop by anytime and watch documentaries.

These UXO's and ERW's are real threats to the civilians who are trying to live their normal lives. It hinders them from using their lands and developing their livelihoods. This then impedes the economic growth of the country.

If you want to learn more on how to detect and avoid UXs and ERWs, you can take the Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Security Training developed by the UN and other NGOs. This is a certified training course.

Here's a tip for you. Do not step into the red part. It has not been cleared yet so you run the risk of exploding into bits and pieces if you head out to this area.

Warning! Don't ever do this! Ayyyy tanga!!!! This is a bomb crater. If you see one, it means there are more lying around.

Photo Credit: Dominik M. Ramík


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