What is Risky Behavior?
Farming is a high risk activity because many farmers do not know their land is contaminated and everyday they risk unearthing UXO. Some famers do know their land is contaminated but cannot afford another plot and they simply have no choice but to cultivate their land. Their plight is all too common in a country where subsistence farming is still the primary employment.
Children engage in a variety of activities than expose them to risks. From playing in the garden or local area, looking for food or scavenging for metal in the forest, and even going to school. UXO is indiscriminate and can be hidden in all these places and more. The natural curiosity of children, their unpredictability, and their lack of maturity to fully understand the dangers of UXO all increase their vulnerability.
The scavenge of scrap metal has become a significant industry in Laos as the demand for recycled bar metal for infrastructure projects increases both in Laos and her neighbors. Many people take up this activity knowing there is money to be made, despite the risks involved. Both the collectors, who sadly are often children, and the dealers, who set up processing foundries, can handle live and unstable UXO, which places them and those around them at huge risk.