“In Laos, we are often in challenging situations where we find bombs near the centre of a village, so being able to make the bombs safe without causing a large explosion will be really useful here.” Carly Sparkes, Operations Manager, Laos
Imagine finding a huge aircraft bomb in the centre of your village. If detonated the blast could kill and injure, rip through streets and homes with devastating consequences. In countries like Laos, bombed during the Vietnam War, this is the reality for many communities and HALO is often called upon to make these dangerous weapons safe.
Aircraft bombs are some of the most challenging to dispose of, due to their high explosive content. When located near to homes the situation becomes even more complex as a full-scale evacuation is necessary to ensure locals remain safe and earthworks are built to protect from the impact of the blast.
Investing in the training and development of our staff is a fundamental priority for HALO so last month three Senior Operations staff from Laos travelled to Abkhazia to be part of a special training course—equipping them with the skills needed to safely dispose of air dropped bombs.
For Phouvanh, Ackhala Sinouvong (known as Kook) and Minthada Thepvongsa it was an opportunity to get new qualifications and visit a completely different country.
“I’m really grateful to HALO for giving me the chance to travel, to improve my skills and further my education.” Supervisor Phouvanh, HALO Laos
“It was incredible to be given the opportunity to visit a different programme, it has been my ambition ever since I started with HALO and I never thought I would travel to Europe. My mother is really proud.” Kook, Senior Translator, HALO Laos
“I enjoyed the chance to learn about Abkhazia and its history and to try different food. I’m so excited to tell my family all about it." Supervisor Minthada, HALO Laos