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CRS in Laos teaches how to keep safe from bombs

In Laos and Vietnam, Catholic Relief Services teaches villagers about unexploded bombs, and how to keep safe, writes Laura Sheahen in the Catholic News Agency.

  • Laos
  • July 25, 2011
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“Let’s go find some bombs to play with” is really not what you want to hear from little kids. (Laura Sheahen, Catholic News Agency)

But in Laos, a country that borders Vietnam, you never know what you’ll hear about deadly explosives.

I’m sitting with Bounma, a teenager whose right leg is pocked with shrapnel scars.

When he was seven, he and a friend were in the woods, hunting for birds. His friend knew “bombies” the size and shape of tennis balls were probably lying around. He knew they were fun.

Bounma and his friend found a yellow one that they tossed one back and forth a few times. Nothing happened. Then his friend decided to throw the bombie at a piece of metal, and it exploded.

His friend didn’t make it.

Bounma was taken to the hospital—in rural Laos, where water buffalo block flooded roads, it’s not possible to be “rushed” there—and survived.

Bounma’s story plays itself out year after year, decades after the end of the Vietnam War. During the war, Laos became the most heavily-bombarded country in the world in terms of bombs dropped per person.


In Laos and Vietnam, Catholic Relief Services teaches villagers about bombs and how to keep safe.


Catholics keeping kids away from bombs in Laos (Catholic News Agency)


Adam Jones, Ph.D on Flickr

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