The article describes the effects of unexploded ordnance, known as UXO, on food production and farming culture in Laos. Between 1964 and 1973 the United States flew more than 580,000 bombing missions over Laos, and an estimated 30 percent of all munitions dropped did not explode as designed. Millions of those unexploded bombs remain in the ground today. UXO poses daily risks to life and limb for the Laotian population, particularly Laotian farmers and rural residents.
The story is told through photos, individual interviews and first-hand reporting along The Ho Chi Minh Trail, in Phonsavanh (also known as Phonsavan) town, in Xiengkhouang (also known as Xiangkhoang and Xiangkhouang) Province and in Phongsali Province.
Special emphasis is placed on the continuing danger of decades-old cluster munitions, also known as “bombies.” Traditional Laotian foods laap, or lam, and sticky rice are also noted.