Actress Rosamund Pike backs campaign to clear unexploded bombs in Laos

Hollywood actress Rosamund Pike has urged people to support a campaign to help clear unexploded bombs in Laos.

The Unlock the Land appeal, from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), aims to fund a team of women to remove the deadly bombs, which remain in the country decades after they were dropped during the Vietnam War.

In a video message recorded as part of the campaign, the Gone Girl star said: “Right now, right this minute, deadly, unexploded bombs are threatening the lives of the children in Laos in south-east Asia, even though those bombs were dropped decades ago.

“People are putting their lives at risk every single day, not knowing that hidden dangers lurk in their land.

Sentebale Audi Concert 2019 – London
Actress Rosamund Pike (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Communities are trapped, families cannot farm without fear and children cannot go to school or play in safety.”

Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita, with two million tonnes of explosives dropped during 580,000 bombing missions, a spokesman for MAG said.

Golden Globe winner Pike, 43, added: “Clearance means kids can play safely and entire communities can develop and thrive instead of living in fear of bombs.

“These communities need help right now and that is why I’m backing the work of MAG and the brave deminers of Laos.

“Join me in helping MAG unlock the land for families in Laos so children can play in safety. I think they’ve been in danger for far too long, don’t you?”

Manchester-based charity MAG, which Pike is an ambassador for, uses highly trained staff and special machinery to find and destroy landmines and bombs.

Schoolchildren in Laos
Children from Vangkhom school, Laos (MAG)

Anoutsala Phichit, 25, one of the charity’s team leaders, will be responsible for clearing the devices in Laos.

She said: “I am proud to see people in the community using land that me and my team have made safe, no longer worrying about the unexploded bombs.”

CEO of MAG Darren Cormack said: “Our vision is for a Laos where women, girls, boys and men live free from the fear and danger of unexploded bombs, where fear is not a barrier to people taking control of their futures.”

Donations made to the appeal before July 24 will be matched by the UK Government and help MAG clear land the equivalent of almost 23 football pitches in Vangkhom, Laos.

Minister for Asia and the Middle East Amanda Milling said: “This month I saw first-hand the work of MAG’s courageous, lifesaving clearance teams in Laos. By removing the threat of unexploded bombs they allow children to play safely and families to earn an income through farming.

“The generous support of the British public for MAG’s appeal will enable people to get on with their lives and to rebuild their communities. The UK Government will match every donation pound by pound to MAG’s appeal up to £2 million, making twice the difference.”

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