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January 14, 2009
Unexploded bombs leave a deadly legacy in Vietnam

The war never quite ends in Vietnam — all across the country, thousands of unexploded bombs and grenades are still buried in the ground.

At least 38,000 people have been killed by leftover explosives since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Worldfocus special correspondent Mark Litke and producer Ara Ayer venture into the fields of Quang Tri to explore a deadly legacy of war.

Below, read commentary from bloggers and information from organizations working to safely clear Vietnamese lands.

Watch a slideshow about the situation in Quang Tri, “Responding to the Tet Offensive Legacy,” from the humanitarian Mines Advisory Group (MAG), which works to clear unexploded ordnance (UXO).

The organization also writes about a young Vietnamese man who is working with them to dispose of UXOs after his brother was injured by an explosive.

American blogger “Mike Richards” visits the demilitarized zone in Vietnam, where his cousin was killed during the war. He describes running across mortars and parts of a rocket launcher.

Blogger “seetch” ventures to Vietnam’s Cu Chi Tunnels, writing that the Vietnamese are moving on but also educating children about the war through the use of historic sites like the tunnels.

An American blogger living in Laos — which faced heavy U.S. bombing during the war as America tried to cut off Vietnamese supply routes — writes that clearance efforts are not moving fast enough.

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Please, I beg you “World Focus” to not leave out the story of the Hmong when addressing the Vietnam War. I don’t know how many viewers you have, but I hope it’s many and that it grows.


In 1960 the CIA approached Vang Pao (Hmong military officer) to enlist his support in their fight against Vietnamese communists. An estimated 500,000 Hmong lived in Laos. About 30,000 Hmong fought against the Vietnamese, being paid an average of 10 cents per day and the promise of being taken care of by the United States government. The United States pulled out of the war in Southeast Asia. An estimated 17,000 Hmong soldiers and 5,000 civilians were killed in the war. The Pathet Lao government in Laos begins “re-educating” the Hmong, often in concentration camps. Also, in retaliation for Hmong assistance to the United States, the government uses chemical weapons against the Hmong. Many Hmong fled to Thailand and more than 100,000 Hmong were killed.

From my understanding, virtually all the crucial help the Hmong did finally receive came from churches and not our government (Faragher, 971).


THE FOLLOWING CLIPS MAY BE HARD TO WATCH: (cover part of the screen with your hand)

(only 2:29 min.)

(only 6:20 min.)



Video clips from Rebecca Somer’s “Hunted like Animals”

Faragher, John et al. “Volume II, Out of Many: A History of The American People.” 3rd ed. Prentince Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458. 2000.

Thanks & Peace


As a recent U.S. visitor to Vietnam, I greatly appreciate this series. I hope many Americans see it, including students in schools. The U.S. has some unfinished business in Vietnam, including helping the country recover from our immoral aggresion.


Very good and makes me think.


Thank you so much for this piece. I hope to see more of this in your upcoming programs

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