(“There are many, many problems in this world that might not be able to be solved in a lifetime,” she said. “But this is one that can be fixed. [...]")
"[...] From 1964 to 1973, American warplanes conducted 580,000 bombing missions overLaos, one of the most intensive air campaigns in the history of warfare. The campaign is often called the Secret War because the United States did not publicly acknowledge waging it.
The targets were North Vietnamese troops — especially along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a large part of which passed through Laos — as well as North Vietnam’s Laotian Communist allies.
Since the war’s end, more than 8,000 people have been killed and about 12,000 wounded in Laos by cluster bombs and other live, leftover ordnance.
Thanks largely to Ms. Channapha’s lobbying, annual United States spending on the removal of unexploded bombs in Laos increased to $12 million this year from $2.5 million a decade ago.
“The funding increase is almost single-handedly due to the dogged efforts of Channapha,” said Murray Hiebert, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “She operates from a tiny shoe-box operation in Washington with almost no budget. Her only tools are her charm, conviction and persistence.”
Sam Perez, a deputy assistant secretary of state, called Ms. Channapha “a driving force behind the awareness raised and attention gained for unexploded ordnance removal efforts in Laos.”
A vast amount of unexploded ordnance remains in Laos, a mountainous and landlocked former French colony. Clearance teams working across the country pull hundreds of unexploded munitions and bomb fragments from rice paddies and jungles every week. Last year alone, 56,400 munitions were found and destroyed. [...]"
(One Woman’s Mission to Free Laos From Millions of Unexploded Bombs, New York Times, 5.4.2015)