3 links which can provide background: A Documenatary (13 minutes), A Previous MMN Announcement and the website (currently being revitalized).
The Khangpunghor 2 Minefield
There are 5 minefields around the village of Ban Xai in the Province of Xieng Kuang, all remnants of the "Secret War in Laos" which is part of what we know as the Vietnam War. These minefields have devastated the local people, their crops and their livestock. Last year Phoenix Clearance Ltd (PCL) cleared, with MIVAC funding, the first minefield in this village and once this second one (known as Khangpunghor 2) is completed the village will be two steps closer to a landmine free existence.
Eleven deminers on this task all were recruited from the local community and intensively trained by PCL staff to perform this demining task. They are currently employed by PCL and for the first time are able to earn money to help thier family and village.
Current Situation with Khangpunghor 2
This minefield is partially cleared, after a variety of mines have been found, and at present plans exist to fence off the remaining area until MiVAC has raised further funds to complete the clearance. MiVAC needs another $25,000 to complete the minefield clearance. MiVAC's intention in 2011 is to commence a program of sustainable humanitarian assistance for the people of Ban Xai and another nearby village of Hinmo Pueng. However we need the minefield cleared first.
These people are destitute. To give an idea, the average earnings is the equivalent of US$30 per annum which is well below the poverty level. There is no electricity connected. There is very little fencing. Sanitation is not understood. Water is not clean nor plentiful.
From the Rice Field to the Minefield
In news arriving today 27 Feb Ms Bouson (35yr old grandmother of 6) is the first deminer in Laos to intentionally find and uncover an M14 Anti-personnel Blast mine. Ms Bouson found the mine in the Khangpunghor 2 minefield.
She is one of 11 deminers on this task all being recruited from the local community and intensively trained by PCL staff to perform the demining task. She says “Three months ago we were working in the rice field now I am very proud to be working saving the lives of my children”.
It is to be noted that these particular mines are made of plastic and contain minimum metal, making them very difficult to find without devastating results. The deminers are using the new F3 mine detectors bought by MiVAC from Minelab with funds raised by friends of MiVAC. Evidence of the existence of these mines in the minefield has been found, however the photo below shows the first M14 mine found in a minefield laid all those years ago. More often than not these mines are located only when they are detonated by people or animals, occasioning of course, loss of life.
So Sandy, MiVAC needs assistance please and any contribution you are able to give will all be gratefully received and put towards this project. Every little bit will help. I know that you have been called upon with helping all the disasters in Australia and now New Zealand however these people are really absolutely destitute without any world-wide attention having been drawn to their plight. They don't have anything to lose - except their life!
All the best
Ph: +61-2-9457 7133
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How Can You Assist?
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