Between 1964 and 1973, more than 240 million cluster bomb sub-munitions were dropped in Laos. 80 million of these bombs failed to explode and continue to pose a hazard to civilians. Since 1964, approximately 20,000 people have been killed or wounded by unexploded ordnance (UXO), many of them in remote and rural areas. Medical treatment, physical rehabilitation, and mental health services are extremely limited throughout Laos, and poor communications and transport networks prevent survivors and their families from accessing services, which are concentrated in provincial capitals.
Since 1996, World Education has supported UXO survivors through administering the War Victims Medical Fund (WVMF), funded by the U.S. government. More than 1,000 UXO survivors have received support from the WVMF for their emergency and ongoing medical costs. Since July 2016, World Education operates the fund in partnership with the National Regulatory Authority, the government agency in charge of UXO issues.
The fund provides essential support to anyone injured by UXO nationwide, covering
- Immediate and ongoing medical care
- Surgery costs
- Dental services
- Assistive devices
- Transportation within Laos
- Accommodation during hospital stay
- Food allowance during hospital stay (including two family members)
- Contribution towards a religious ceremony or funeral
View the WVMF Pamphlet in English or WVMF Pamphlet in Lao for more details.
For more information about accessing the WVMF, contact the NRA hotline at 1603 or World Education at (856-21) 214524.
The WVMF does not cover the cost of other services that enable UXO survivors and their family members to sustain their livelihoods and resume their daily activities. Some victims cannot return to working on the farm and benefit from vocational training to learn a new trade. Children may need additional support to return to school. World Education works with local partners to provide these additional skills and assistance through funds raised by private donations. Please click here to make a donation. After you enter a donation amount, select “Donate to a specific project,” and enter “War Victims Medical Fund, Laos” in the corresponding box.
Watch a video about UXO survivors and the help they have received through World Education: