Friday, March 7, 2008

US cluster bombs still blasting Laotian children

this is dedicated to my friend Leung, who lost most of his family in this disgrace.
clipped from
April 30, 1975 Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces, finally
ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

From 1964
to 1973 the United States dropped 90 million cluster bomblets on
neighboring Laos in 580,000 bombing missions—equivalent to
one planeload every 8 minutes, 24 hours-a-day, for 9 years.

to 30% of the cluster bomblets failed to detonate, leaving as many
as 25-30 million unexploded bomblets covering more than one-third
of Laos at war’s end. It is estimated that there are at least
10 million cluster submunitions still littering the land.

In the years since, as many as 12,000 civilians—an
estimated 40% of them
children—have been killed or maimed, with hundreds of new
casualties each year. In addition, cluster bomblets hamper basic
food production and economic development in Laos, one of the poorest
countries in the world.

According to the UN Development Program, at current funding levels
the cluster bomb removal program may take up to 100 years to complete.

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