THIS WAS A BOMB.
Made for destruction.
Recovered by the brave.
Transformed by the creative.
Worn by the Unarmed Forces.
THIS IS THE PROBLEM
Some 80 million unexploded bombs are scattered across the country -- the deadly legacy of what became known as America's "secret war" in Laos -- a CIA-led mission during the Vietnam War.
2 million tons of explosive
The operation was aimed at blocking Vietnam's supply lines on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the south of Laos, and also to support the Laos government loyalists in a civil war against communist forces in the north.
In total, between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped more than two million tons of bombs -- one of the heaviest aerial bombardments in history. Most of the munitions dropped were cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets -- known locally as "bombies."
To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed, according to US-based NGO Legacies of War, which is spearheading the campaign to clear them.
"We were all but forgotten here," says the Laos-born founder of Legacies of War, Channapha Khamvongsa. But the people of Laos can't forget, as the "secret war" is still claiming victims.
Bombs mistaken for toys
THIS IS THE SOLUTION
One of Combat Flip Flops's charity partners is MAG America. MAG’s work has helped more than 16 million people in conflict-affected communities in over 40 countries since 1989, giving them greater safety and the opportunity to rebuild their lives, livelihoods and futures.
MAG helps people to be safe from landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), free from danger, free from fear. They find landmines before children do.
By removing unexploded landmines and UXO from land and destroying them, they enable communities to grow more food and make a better living, access better health services, and know that their children can walk to school in safety.
After MAG makes land safe, schools are improved and new ones constructed and refurbished, new homes built and agricultural land freed up.
Once roads are clear of landmines, trade routes can reopen, while NGOs and other organisations are able to reach remote areas to deliver humanitarian aid and development projects.
MAG has found and destroyed more than 700 landmines and unexploded items per day – day in day out – for 25 years. That’s 5,000 items each and every week for a quarter of a century.