Hollywood star links-up with Manchester charity to help clear bomb-ridden Laos

Movie star Rosamund Pike is the face of a landmine-clearance charity’s new fundraising campaign to help rid Laos of unexploded bombs that were dropped decades ago. 

With the money raised from the Unlock the Land appeal, Manchester-based Mines Advisory Group (MAG) will train an all-female group of deminers to clear an area equivalent to 23 football pitches.

Oscar-nominated actress Pike – star of hit films such as Gone Girl, Jack Reacher and Die Another Day – is an ambassador for the charity.

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

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

Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world, having suffered nine years of constant airstrikes from the US during the Vietnam War. 

MAG say that between 1964 and 1973, a planeload of bombs was dropped every eight minutes in the Southeast Asian country – a total of more than two million tonnes of explosives over 580,000 missions. 

Each donation to the Unlock the Land appeal made before July 24 will be matched by the government’s UK Aid Match scheme.

Minister for Asia and the Middle East Amanda Milling, who has seen MAG’s work in Laos first-hand, said: “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 £2m, making twice the difference.”

MAG – established in 1989 – has operated in Laos since 1994 and in August 2021 announced the removal of its 300,000th undetonated explosive.

More information on where to donate can be found on the MAG website.

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