Coffee Chronicles: UXO

Nope, it’s not the latest trend in brewing. UXO stands for unexploded ordnance. And this week, I went without my posh coffee and headed to the UXO Visitor Centre in Luang Prabang.

I knew very little about the Secret War before I visited the centre and I would really recommend going along. It’s informative but not overwhelming and there are some videos showing the real human impact of UXO which help to put the statistics into context.

According to MAG (Mines Advisory Group), as part of the Vietnam War, the US conducted more than 580,000 bombing raids over neighbouring Laos: the country now holds the unwanted title of most bombed country per capita in history. UXO Lao work to clear these bombs so that the land can be used for agriculture and much-needed infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and water supply. There are statistics galore at the UXO Visitor Centre but the one that stuck with me is this:

From 1996 to 2010, UXO Lao has destroyed a massive 446, 711 unexploded sub-munitions… yet that’s only 0.55% of the estimated unexploded sub-munitions throughout Laos.

Going without my posh coffee doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.



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