Humanitarian Disarmament in Lao PDR
During the Vietnam War Lao PDR experienced the heaviest aerial bombardment in history. US bombing records show an average of 176 military deployments a day over nine years and more than two million tons of bombs were dropped between 1964 and 1973. The National Regulatory Authority (NRA) has reported that 10 of Lao PDR’s 17 provinces are “severely contaminated” by ERW , affecting up to a quarter of all villages. The cluster munition contamination is the highest in the world when measured against the population. To date, there have been more than 29 000 people killed and more than 21 000 injured due to explosive objects.
MBT : not a state party.
CCM : state party; clearance deadline: 1 August 2020.
From 1997 to 2007 Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) supported UXO Lao PDR with technical assistance and Quality Assurance. NPA started up its own operations in Sekong province in November 2009 with three multi-functional teams; this was later expanded to include the provinces of Saravan and Attapeu.
NPA now conducts UXO survey and clearance operations in Lao PDR. The programme has grown massively since 2011, and to date counts almost 400 staff, the operations focus primarily on survey.
The Cluster Munition Remnants Survey ( CMRS ) is the main methodology for NPA. Before the use of CMR survey, alternate surveys have resulted in expensive, superfluous searches that spent unnecessary assets without finding contamination.
The development of the CMRS approach in Lao PDR commenced in 2010 and the methodology was fully accepted in mid-2012. As the CMR survey process involves preliminary survey, suspected areas can be confirmed and recorded prior to targeted clearance, eliminating costly clearance of uncontaminated land. This process provides a clear estimation of clearance needs, and enables Lao PDR to make more specific and accurate assessments of needed assets and donor funding.
NPA is the largest international Humanitarian Disarmament NGO currently working in Lao PDR.
Of the 580,000 bombing strikes on Lao PDR, it is estimated that 30 % of the submunitions failed to detonate remaining as de-facto landmines on the ground.
The NPA Humanitarian Disarmament Programme Lao PDR surveys more than 12km2 per month using CMRS.