In 2003, Suraj lost his legs after discovering a cluster bomblet that had been dropped in 2001. Suraj, his 13 year old brother and two cousins were walking in a park when the bomb went off. Suraj’s cousin was killed and the other three suffered severe injuries.
Afghan high school student Rafeullah was 11 when he and his brother found a cluster bomblet they mistook for a toy. His brother hit it with a stick and passed it to Rafeullah. It blew off his right hand.
Yohansu Gebra, 50, was one of many people who rushed to help victims at a cluster bomb strike on a primary school in 1998. She lost her leg. A widow, she can barely support her two young children, who often only eat once a day.
In 1998 Phouvieng was injured after digging up an unexploded cluster bomblet near his home. Whilst Phouvieng was in hospital, his eldest son died from an illness they could not afford to have treated. The families of cluster bomb victims also feel the impact of their injuries.
Like many children, 11 year old Zahra Hussein Soufan was attracted to the small size and curious shape of the cluster bomblet that injured her. In the 6 months after the August 2006 ceasefire in Lebanon, round 200 civilians were killed or injured by unexploded cluster bomblets. A quarter of civilians injured by cluster bombs are children.
Zoheir Ali Khoshe was injured during a cluster munition strike on Lebanon in 1982.
Khamon, 74, was blinded in 1965 during a cluster bomb strike on Laos. He now needs constant assistance from his wife and children. Disabled cluster bomb survivors require immediate and long term care which can extend to all areas of their lives.
Armen Mousaelian found a cluster bomblet whilst shepherding in Nagorno Karabakh. Unaware of what it was, he tried to open it. It blew off his arm and blinded him in one eye. Now aged 20 and the eldest son, he is unable to support his family.
Mahmad Khudoiev lost his leg after a cluster bomb strike in Tajikistan, 1993. Mahmad was eventually able to return to his job as a taxi driver after adapting his car to be controlled by hand.
Gharachi Belkher was partially blinded in 1983 after picking up a cluster bomblet in Western Sahara. His eyes continued to deteriorate and he had no access to medical help. Now he is completely blind.
Village Assistance Clearance Operatives in Laos have been specifically trained to help clear their own community. The Cluster Munition Convention asserts that contaminated land must be cleared within 10 years.
Prosthetic limbs should be replaced about every two years. This vital form of rehabilitation is not available to most cluster bomb survivors who need it worldwide.
In Laos scrap metal can fetch an average price of $1 for five kg. Women and children often put themselves at risk by engaging in scrap metal collection. People continue this work because they have no financial alternatives.
Kamsouk was 15 years old when he was injured by a cluster bomb in Laos. He relies on handouts from people in his village, as he cannot work and his family are unable to support an additional adult.
Following the ceasefire on 14 August 2006, the Siklawi family returned to find their home in south Lebanon destroyed. The surrounding land on which they depended to make their living was burnt and littered with cluster bombs. There is no support for their loss of home or livelihood.
In 1999, two British Army Ghurkha officers and three Kosova soldiers were killed removing cluster bomblets from Orlatt village school in Kosovo. It was declared safe soon afterwards but recently more unexploded bomblets have been found.
Dtar lost his arms after finding a cluster bomblet whilst fishing in Laos. It had been on the ground for at least thirty years before detonating. Thousands have been maimed or killed by cluster bombs, either during attacks or in the years afterwards.
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