Actions for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin

Hong Van
Chia sẻ
(VOVWORLD) - August 10 is the Day for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin. Over the past 62 years since the Agent Orange disaster began in 1961, the Vietnamese government has exerted efforts and mobilized all possible resources and aid from international organizations to help victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and their families.
Actions for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin - ảnh 1Walking in support of Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin

On August 10, 1961, the US army began chemical warfare in Vietnam. For 10 years, from 1961 to 1971, the US army sprayed 80 million litres of toxic chemicals, 61% of which was Agent Orange, on one quarter of Vietnam’s southern region.

Overcoming the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin is an urgent, long-term task

Agent Orange has caused great harm to people and the natural environment in Vietnam. Ecosystems have been damaged and cannot be restored. Generations of Vietnamese people have suffered physical and mental anguish due to Agent Orange. The Vietnamese government has made overcoming the consequences of Agent Orange an urgent long-term issue.

Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange receive monthly allowances, free health insurance and free medical examinations and treatment. Hundreds of thousands of people with severe disabilities from Agent Orange have received orthopedic and functional rehabilitation. Tens of thousands of disabled children, many of them crippled by Agent Orange, have been helped to attend school.

The Vietnamese Association of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin has mobilized resources to help victims with home repairs, detoxification, rehabilitation, vocational training, credit for production, and free wheelchairs and has built several social protection centers. There are 12 Peace Villages and Friendship Villages and many centers nationwide to nurture thousands of children with deformities caused by Agent Orange/dioxin.

In the first half of this year, efforts have been made to help victims of Agent Orange, including building and repairing houses, and providing detoxification treatment.

At the launch of the Month of Action for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin in Hanoi last week, Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilization Bui Thi Minh Hoai said: "Vietnam has adopted several policies to deal with the consequences of Agent Orange. The State spends millions of dollars a year on health care and rehabilitation for victims and support for areas heavily impacted by Agent Orange. The movement “Action for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange” launched by the Vietnam Fatherland Front in June 2011 has been strongly responded by people inside and outside Vietnam. The movement has helped victims stabilize their lives and integrate into the community."

Joint effort by international friends

In its effort to deal with the consequences of Agent Orange, Vietnam has received strong support from international friends. At a meeting in Damas, Syria, in October 2009, the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council declared August 10 the Day for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange. From 2004 to 2009, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers organized the International People’s Tribunal of Conscience to try 37 US chemical companies for supplying toxic chemicals to the US military for use in the war in Vietnam. The United Nations Development Program has provided financial support to help Vietnam treat dioxin contaminated soil at Phu Cat airport in Binh Dinh province and equip Vietnam with a dioxin analysis laboratory. Many foreign organizations and individuals have come to Vietnam to train Vietnam in dioxin detoxification.

The US government has coordinated with Vietnam to complete the decontamination program at Da Nang Airport, treating 90,000 m³ of contaminated soil, disinfecting nearly 30,000m2 of land at Bien Hoa airport, and helping people with disabilities, including Agent Orange victims in many provinces including Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Nam.

Vietnam has about 5 million people infected with Agent Orange/dioxin. Supportive actions from the government, the local community and international friends has eased their suffering.