If you plan to visit Vientiane, the capital of Laos you shouldn't miss out the free permanent exhibition of COPE visitor center to get more educated on UXO (unexploded ordance) in Laos during and after the Vietnam war. This exhibition makes it very easy for foreigners to understand that UXO is still an issue which influences the life of one quarter of Laos' villages even though the Vietnam War ended sveral years ago.
COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) is a local run non-profit organisation which works together with the Center of Medical Rehabilitation (CMR), the Lao Ministry of health and four provincial rehabilitation centers. They provide rehabilitation to survivors of UXO and other people with disabilities across Lao PDR. Through fundraising COPE supports the costs for survivors who can not afford medical rehabilitation.
The exhibition provides you with various documentaries e.g. the very emotional award-winning "Bomb Harvest" by Australian film maker Kim Mordaunt. Also get enough information about why there is a need for prosthetics in Lao PDR and stories of families in Laos who became victims of UXO after the Vietnam war.
Shocking facts about Lao PDR:
- Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita in history.
- More than 2 mio tons of ordance were dropped in Lao PDR during the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1973.
- Up to 30% failed to detonate and remained after the war (approximately 80 mio UXO remained throughout the country).
- About 25% of the villages in Lao PDR are still contaminated with UXO.
- More than 20000 people have been killed or injured by UXO in the post-war period from 1974 to 2011.
COPE visitor center
Campus of the Medical Rehabilitation Center (CMR)
Also visit: http://www.copelaos.org/