Artillery shells being moved for destruction
Female deminers chatting before their shift
Two man metal detector team in a grassy pasture
Uncovered unexploded ordnance is marked and covered with a sandbag
A tip of an artillery shell is dug up
Russian TNT stored in an old ammo can is used to detonate UXO
Two deminers laying out electrical cord to detonate the found UXO
Man smiling at black smoke plumes after detonation of UXO
Leftover shrapnel with ballbearings from a detonated clustersubmunition
Map of operations in the coordination office, Phonsavahn
Deminer finding shade behind a Landcruiser in the midday sun
Deminer using a handdrawn map to navigate field littered with UXO
Deminer digging in a hillside
Closeup of a deminer's boot with a metal detector
Closeup of a clustersubmunition, a tennis ball sized bomblet
A deminer finding a false positive while sweeping with a metal detector
Detonation of multiple pieces of UXO on farmland
Deminers filling out paperwork on the hood of a Landcruiser


About UXO Lao Demining

During the Vietnam war, the US was also conducting a secret war in Laos. Between 1964 and 1973 over 1.36 million tons of bombs were dropped there — the equivalent of all bombs dropped by all nations during World War II combined. Many of these were clustermunitions that disperse tennis ball sized bomblets (bombies) over a large area. Of these, an estimated 266 million pieces still lie undetonated in the Lao countryside. This is not including the many undetonated landmines, artillery shells, mortar rounds, handgrenades and other unexploded ordnances (UXO). Even decades later these UXO remain highly dangerous and will explode if disturbed. Most of the victims are farmers working their fields and playing children. On average, UXO causes one fatality or serious injury per day. The demining organisation UXO Lao has been working with international NGOs since 1996 to clean up these deadly remnants of war.

266 million pieces of unexploded ordnance are still embedded in Laos' soil.

About the groundwork project

Groundwork is a photographic project that focuses on those who do fieldwork for aid organizations. The idea is to balance the images usually seen of NGO’s, which typically revolve around those who receive the aid. Our aim is to humanize these organisations and the work they do. We want to show the hard work these men and women do, with great courage in often dire circumstances. And we hope to lessen the scepticism and preconceptions concerning aid operations.