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MCC and cluster bombs
One war, 260 million cluster bombs and generations of pain
These two photos, taken nearly 30 years apart, portray the nightmare of suffering caused by cluster munitions in Laos, and the reasons why MCC has maintained a focus on this issue over so many years.
This young Lao girl, holding her baby brother on her back, stands in the family garden at the site where her mother was killed by a U.S. cluster bomb the day before. The hoe head used by her mother, was shattered in the explosion and lies at her feet.
MCC worker Linda Gehman Peachey visited the family in the village of Muong Kham, the day after the accident in April of 1981. The young girl's father gave the hoe head to Linda, asking her to take it back to America and use it to tell the story in hopes that other families would not have to endure the same pain.
Linda and her husband Titus have used the hoe head for more than 35 years to tell the story of cluster bombs in Laos and other countries.
For more on this story and the history of MCC's work on cluster munitions in Laos, click here.
MCC Photo by Jan Swartzendruber
Photo by Giovanni Diffidenti
A Lao mother holds the photo of her two children, Paeng (left) and Piou (right). On their way home from school in November of 2010, Piou picked up an unexploded cluster bomblet which she found near her home. When warned of its danger, she threw it to the ground. Piou, age 10, was killed in the explosion, while her sister Paeng, age 15, sustained numerous shrapnel injuries. The accident took place in Na Sa La Village in Bolikhamsay Province, Laos.
Ironically, the 1st Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions was meeting in Vientiane, Laos at the time. A photo of Piou's shattered body appeared on the front page of the Vientiane Times the following morning.
MCC worker Linda Gehman Peachey was present at this meeting, along with her husband Titus, MCC Laos program director Wendy Martin and other MCC workers from Southeast Asia.