Laotian Bomb Hunters

September 2, 2009

PRI’s Mary Stucky accompanied Jim Harris, founder of We Help War Victims, on a journey through southern Laos investigating the Laotian scrap metal trade. Stucky put herself at risk by traveling across uncleared territory to observe villagers digging for scrap on land contaminated by old ordnance. Then, to complete her investigation, Stucky ventured into a foundry yard littered with rockets, mortars, bombs and other unexploded ordnance. Her report exposes the life-threatening conditions that exist from field to foundry.

PRI Podcast

When you have no money and no opportunity to make any, you’ll do just about anything to survive. That can include risking your life for a few dollars a day. This is what many kids and adults do in the southeast Asian country of Laos. They trek into the forest to look for scrap metal they can sell for cash. The danger is that that scrap metal consists largely of bombs left over from the Vietnam War. And many of those bombs never exploded. Mary Stucky reports from Laos’ Boualapha Disrict on this deadly business.

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