Lao Agent Orange Survey
WHAT WE DO
Laos Agent Orange Survey
The Laos Agent Orange Survey (LAOS) began surveying villages, in 2014, in the heavily sprayed regions of Savannakhet and Salavan provinces. We were the first to conduct a substantive survey and collection of statistical data on the potential impacts of Agent Orange in southeastern Laos.
The purpose of the survey as such, is to determine the consequences of wartime use of herbicides in Laos—in particular, to identify the extent of the contamination of Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides and rates of people suffering from Agent Orange-associated congenital birth defects, disabilities, cancers and other illnesses.
The Secret War in Laos and the CIA
U.S. Air Force official spray records, disclosed in 1999, show that at least fifteen districts in the provinces of Kham Mouane, Savannakhet, Salavan, Xekong, and Attapeu were heavily and repeatedly sprayed with tactical herbicides. This area was the location of the former Ho Chi Minh Trail and is among the most impoverished in Laos. The Lao census of 2005 identified unusually high incidents of disabilities in these districts.
What is not known, however, is how much aerial spraying or military base clearing was done, if any, under the auspices of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). One Air America veteran reported that he fitted a Pilatus Porter (number XW – PCB), a short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft, with spray tanks and that that plane was used for two months in 1968 for herbicide spraying near Long Tieng and the area south of Na Khang in Sainyabuli Province.
In addition, the Veteran’s Administration website notes that planes were loaded in Udorn, Thailand to spray Agent Orange in Northern Laos but the records of where this spraying took place have not yet been identified. Anecdotes of villagers near former CIA landing zones and trail watching sites suggest that hand spraying of herbicides also occurred in Laos.
The survey estimates 300,000 Lao citizens in about 178 villages were potentially exposed to wartime herbicide sprayings. These affected villages—in the districts of Xepone, Nong, Vilabouly, Phin, Samoi, Taoey, Kalum, Dak Cheung, Lamam, Xanxay, Phouvong Xaysettha and Xanamxay—are all located in Laos’s southeast hinterlands. Ethnic minorities of the Mon-Khmer linguistic group, previously labeled Lao Teung (Midland Lao) of the Annamese Cordillera, constitute the largest population living on this remote and forested plateau.
Donate via Paypal or by check to the address below. Put "Laos Agent Orange Survey" on the memo line.