Vietnam commemorates 61 years of Agent Orange disaster. Photo: Latin Press
Hanoi, 10.08. (RHC) Vietnam this Wednesday marks the 61st anniversary of the disaster that occurred in the south of the country when the US Army spread tens of millions of liters of Agent Orange/dioxin, the devastating effects of which are still being felt.
The disaster caused by the toxin continues to leave serious consequences. Hundreds of thousands of people have died and a similar number are suffering from deadly diseases, President of the Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims Association of Ho Chi Minh City, Maj. Gen. Tran Ngoc Tho, recalled at a memorial service.
According to journalistic sources, about 4.8 million Vietnamese have been exposed to this chemical substance, while another three million, their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren are still affected, even though the war ended almost half a century ago.
What the U.S. Department of Defense christened “Operation Ranch Hand” began on August 10, 1961 and lasted a decade, during which about 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, 61 percent Agent Orange, were sprayed on more than three million hectares of land in southern Vietnam.
Estimates by the Vietnamese Association of Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims and the National Red Cross, quoted by the VNA news agency, show that of the three million Vietnamese affected by this deadly substance, at least 150,000 are children with birth defects and one million were born people suffer serious consequences.
Meanwhile, a report from the United States Institute of Medicine published more than a decade ago showed the link between exposure to Agent Orange and five diseases: soft tissue cancer, benign lymphoma, chronic lymphoma (including hairy leukemia), cancer and chlorosis.
With the formation of the Vietnam Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims Association (VAVA) in 2004, the state allocated tens of millions of dollars in monthly aid, medical supplies and functional rehabilitation to victims and to support affected areas, Colonel-General Nguyen Van Rinh recalled.
The VAVA chairman emphasized that the Communist Party, the state and the people have wholeheartedly and with the utmost sense of responsibility made efforts to care for people of revolutionary merit, including those who died in the resistance war under toxic chemicals and victims of this harmful substance suffered.
More than 320,000 people who took part in the war and their infected children now enjoy the right to preferential treatment for people of revolutionary merit, Van Rinh pointed out, specifying that from 2004 to date, more than $113 million has gone to The Agent Orange victims. (Source: Latin Press)