Press Release: U.S. State Department-Sponsored Speakers Tour Highlighting Unexploded Bomb Issue in Laos set to Launch at United Nations
Manixia Thor (left) and a member of her all women’s bomb clearance team head into the field to clear unexploded ordnance in the Lao countryside. Manixia will be on a speakers tour for the month of April to raise awareness of the urgent need in Laos for funding of bomb clearance and survivor assistance efforts.
As a bomb clearance technician and the leader of an all-women’s bomb clearance team in Laos, Manixia Thor has one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Unexploded ordnance removal is perilous and the days are long, but she knows that her work clearing bombs will make Laos safer for her two-year-old son and for future generations.
For nearly ten years, millions of bombs rained down on the tiny country of Laos, making it the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. The bombings ended 40 years ago this year, but more than 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured by decades-old ordnance that litter the otherwise beautiful landscape.
With support from the U.S. Department of State, Manixia and Thoummy Silamphan, a Laotian bomb accident survivor and victim assistance advocate, will be touring the United States on a speakers tour with the U.S.-based groupLEGACIES OF WAR to raise awareness about the unexploded ordnance issue in Laos and the urgent need for further funding of clearance and survivor assistance efforts.
Legacies of War, the only U.S. non-profit organization dedicated solely to raising awareness about the Vietnam War-era bombings of Laos and the ongoing problem of unexploded bombs, is launching a nationwide tour featuring two speakers from Laos. The speakers will discuss how unexploded bomb contamination impacts Laos, four decades since the end of the war. This tour is sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
Discussions will focus on how the problem is being addressed and how people in the U.S. can help to clear Laos of bombs, support survivors of accidents, and help to create a safer future for the people of Laos.
Manixia Thor: Mother and leader of an all-women’s bomb clearance team in Laos
Thoummy Silamphan: Bomb accident survivor and victim assistance advocate
Approximately 80 million pieces of ordnance remain in the ground in Laos, threatening lives and limbs. Over 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured by unexploded ordnance since the end of the bombings of Laos in 1973. This tour will raise awareness across the United States of the urgent need for funding of clearance and survivor assistance.
National Tour Dates and Locations:
April 3: Launch Reception, New York, New York
April 4: United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York
April 6: Fresno, California
April 7: Berkeley, California
April 8: Merced, California
April 9: Palo Alto, California
April 11: Sacramento, California
April 12: Portland, Oregon April 16: Seattle, Washington
April 20: Madison, Wisconsin
April 21 & 22: Minneapolis, Minnesota
April 25: Harrisonburg, Virginia
April 30: Washington, DC
More information about the tour including tour dates, photos, and videos can be found at www.legaciesofwar.org/voices
Posted: Mar 27, 2013