[ndlr] Le Laos, petit pays enclavé entre le Viêt-Nam et la Thaïlande, a payé un prix très fort pendant la Seconde guerre d’Indochine. Durant cette période, peu de gens savent que le Laos a été le pays le plus bombardé au monde. En particulier, le sud du pays a essuyé une pluie de feu lorsque les Américains décidèrent de tenter de détruire la Piste Ho Chi Minh entre 1964 et 1973. Les conséquences de ce désastre humain et écologique se font sentir jusqu’à aujourd’hui car de nombreuses bombes non explosées poursuivent leur tâche mortelle. Rappel de cette réalité par deux jeunes laotiens en mission aux Etats-Unis.
Two young Laotians are touring the U.S. to educate Americans on the dangers of unexploded bombs dropped on their country by the U.S. during the Vietnam War and to raise funding for the removal of these dangerous explosives.
Thoummy Silamphan, 26, who lost a limb to unexploded ordinance, and Manixia Thor, a 25-year-old leader of a female bomb clearance team, joined Washington-based nongovernmental organization Legacies of War on its “Voices of Laos” tour across a dozen cities.
The U.S. military dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos over a nine-year period up to 1973 while attempting to disrupt the Vietcong supply line known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War.
Experts estimate that about 30 percent of cluster bombs failed to explode after they were dropped from high-flying U.S. aircraft over Laos and that much of the country’s northern region and its eastern border with Vietnam remain contaminated with the explosives.
“To this day there are 600 living survivors of UXO [unexploded ordnance] explosions and many of them are children, Thoummy told RFA’s Lao Service in an interview last week.
“Of the 600 survivors, less than 100 have received any aid and are in desperate need of it,” he said.
The Voices of Laos tour kicked off on April 3 in New York when the United Nations marked the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
Funded by the U.S. State Department, the trip has taken the two young Lao speakers through California, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota, and culminates in the U.S. capital on April 30—the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
They have held discussions along the way on how individuals and communities in Laos are affected by unexploded Vietnam War-era ordnance and bombs, how the problem is being addressed in the country, and ways in which people in the U.S. can help to clear Laos of bombs and support survivors of accidents.
Lire la suite : Radio Free Asia, 23/04/2013. Reported by Manichanh Phimphachanh for RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Manichanh Phimphachanh. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.
- Voir également : Laos: Le pays le plus bombardé au monde, Oxfam, 15/11/2010.