Mother, children severely injured
in UXO accident
In the past, many UXO accidents occurred because of scrap metal collection, where villagers “harvested” metal parts from leftover bombs to sell as a way to earn income, but this has been on the decline in recent years. However, we are sad to report that incidents from this trade still occur, as poor villagers seek ways to support their family’s income. We received a report of an accident in March involving a farmer and her two boys, who found the bombs and sought to sell them.
On March 2, 2014 in Pak District, Xieng Khoang, Mrs. Bouakham, 39, and her two sons, Tod, 18, and Techno, 16, students in high school, were involved in a serious accident. They had found a bombie, along with other materials, and took it to sell to a scrap metal buyer. The buyer picked up the metal to clean and remove dirt and moss by hitting it with another piece of metal several times, causing the bomb to explode. The buyer died immediately. Mrs. Bouakham, who was closest to the explosion, had her right leg blown off, and eventually amputated. Techno, who was standing by his mother, was injured in the face, including both his eyes, and has many wounds from shrapnel in both his legs. Her son,Tod, was injured on his right ear and cheek, as well as his right shoulder. Her youngest daughter, was not injured.
All three accident victims were initially treated at the Provincial Hospital. The Quality of Life Association (QLA) team visited them when they were in the provincial hospital and will continue to follow up on their medical progress and to discuss the type of support that QLA and World Education could provide for UXO survivors. Some of their costs will be covered through the War Victims Fund, provided by various donors, including the U.S.
(Photos used with permission of the survivors. Thank you to World Education for providing details of the accident.)