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Inside the Laos villages where people build homes, canoes, and tools out of unexploded bombs left over from the Vietnam War

29.04.2022 08:32 AM
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Inside the Laos villages where people build homes, canoes, and tools out of unexploded bombs left over from the Vietnam War
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Inside the Laos villages where people build homes, canoes, and tools out of unexploded bombs left over from the Vietnam War
Decades after the Vietnam War ended, there are around 80 million unexploded bombs left in Laos. Despite the danger they pose, some villagers use the bombs to build their homes.
 
 

In many villages, these bombs and other war-time relics have become a staple of the landscape and of everyday life. Plane fuel tanks, for example, have found a second life as canoes.
 

The villagers have managed to repurpose the bombs into different functions depending on their size. The casings of smaller bombs, like the one below, sometimes double as planters.
 


In Ban Napia, a village in the Xiengkhouang province of Laos, some villagers sell cutlery made out of the metal from unexploded bombs.
 

Cluster munitions — small submunitions encased within a larger shell — were the most common type of bombs used on Laos, Goring told Insider. They are designed to detonate on impact, but not all of them did.
 
Part of the danger stems from the fact that there is no way for villagers to know whether a bomb is still active, Goring said.
 

Those who don't die from the explosions often suffer serious injuries.

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