Over 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973 during Americas secret war supporting the Royal Lao Government against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese supply routes on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Laos is the most heavily bombed country per head of population in history.
An estimated 80 million unexploded cluster bomblets or “bombies” remain in the countryside. These are small bombs, the size of a coke can or an orange.
Since 1974 over 20,000 people have been killed or injured by unexploded ordinance. Many of these are children and farmers working the land, collecting scrap metal for money or just playing.
COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) was founded in 1997 to provide prosthetics to victims of UXO. It is the only provider of these in Laos, and much of what it provides is free. COPE runs a center in Vientiane to highlight it’s work and the work of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in removing UXO.
It runs on donations.