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Tiếng Việt

Dioxin and the pains remain

The war has receded, but the sequelae left to Agent Orange victims persist for generations. According to research, Agent Orange/dioxin can cause negative effects on the human body, such as:

The US Army's chemical warfare conducted in Vietnam was the largest one in the world. From 1961 to 1971, the US Military sprayed nearly 80 million liters of toxic chemicals in South Vietnam. These chemicals include Agent Orange, Agent Blue (which contains cyanide to destroy the environment), Agent Green, Agent White, Agent Purple, and Agent Pink. In particular, the most harmful one was Agent Orange/dioxin (2,3,7,8 - TCDD). According to Stellman (2003) and NAS (2003), the total amount of dioxin sprayed in Vietnam was 366 kg and the number of people exposed during the war was about 4.8 million.

Dioxin and the pains remain

The war has receded, but the sequelae left to Agent Orange victims persist for generations. According to research, Agent Orange/dioxin can cause negative effects on the human body, such as:

- Skin irritation and skin diseases;

- Neurological disorder;

- Miscarriage;

- Type-2 diabetes;

- Birth defects for the next generation;

- Cancers, Hodgkin's disease, leukemia ...

Even, there have been studies proving the effect of Agent Orange on the entire human genome, leading to defects and complications passing onto next generations. The 18-year research of scientists of the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Center concluded that Agent Orange has caused long-term medical and biological consequences on human health, even to the second and the third generations of those who have exposed to it. Agent Orange/dioxin has caused ecological genetic effects, especially miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects to women infected with it. According to these scientists, the effects of Agent Orange/dioxin can last not only 20 years, but possibly up to 100 years. Not only Vietnamese people, but also American, Korean, and Australian veterans, etc., who participated in the war in Vietnam were also exposed. According to the former Commander of the US Naval and Air Forces in Vietnam between 1968 and 1970, at least 2,100 US pilots were exposed. 100,000 out of 300,000 Korean soldiers who fought in Vietnam were victims, in which 20,000 have died.

However, instead of accepting their fate and cruel circumstances, many victims still try to live a useful life. They actively participate in economic development, and build a prosperous and happy family life, and become role models for other families and society.

That is the case of Mr. Nguyen Van Thom, a victim of Agent Orange, who was born in 1972, and is living in My Luong hamlet, Long Tien commune, Cai Lay district, Tien Giang province. Thom suffered from birth defects as his father was infected with Agent Orange when he fought in the Southern battlefields. Although his legs are paralyzed, his hands are limp, but for many years, Thom has overcome the difficulties caused by his illness, struggled in everyday life with his wagon. Every day, he travels on his wagon to street corners, markets, and crowded places to sell lottery tickets to feed himself and his 02 relatives who are now old and weak.

After his father died in 1982 of an illness, Thom lived with his mother, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Au, 71 years old and his aunt, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ac whose husband was a wounded veteran of the Battalion 261 and has passed away. Both his mother and his aunt are old and weak, and often sick. They can only do small household chores such as cooking, looking after the house etc. Their main income depends on Thom. Thom confided that: The most difficult days are when he is sick and cannot sell the lottery, he don’t have the money to buy food. On average, he earns more than 100,000 VND a day with which he covers for two meals and all his family's living expenses. The house that his family is living in is a charity one built by the Waterway Police Department, under the Provincial Police, nearly 20 years ago. It now has degraded and damaged much, but his family cannot afford to renovate.

Mr. Vo Van Be, Chairman of Long Tien commune's Association for victims of Agent Orange/dioxin said that local people are deeply sympathetic with Thom, a very gentle, compassionate, hard-working person who struggles to support his whole family, so people often buy his lottery tickets as a way to support him. Thom is a shining example of energy and will which are admired and affectionate by many.

Over the past years, the Party, the National Assembly, the State and related ministries and branches have built and promulgated many legal documents related to the remedy of post-war toxic chemicals. At the same time, special attention has been paid to regimes and policies towards people with meritorious services to the revolution in general and resistance participants infected with toxic chemicals, in particular. To date, more than 320,000 war participants infected with toxic chemicals and their children are entitled to monthly allowances under the Ordinance on Preferential Treatment of People with Merit to the Revolution. The mobilization of social resources, care and assistance for victims has been actively and effectively deployed by VAVA, and positively responded by many organizations, individuals, and philanthropists at home and abroad. Following the philosophy of "Drinking water, remember the source" of the Vietnamese people and President Ho Chi Minh's teaching that "Remember the tree growers when eating fruit", the 4th Corps’ cadres and soldiers always promote their sense of responsibility, step up the movement "Repaying Gratitude", enthusiastically make contributions both materially and spiritually to care for the lives of policy beneficiaries who are infected with Agent Orange/dioxin.

According to the data provided by the Vietnam - Russia Tropical Center, in Binh Duong province, there are over 5,000 cases of exposure, including 856 direct victims, 298 second–generation victims and currently there have been third and fourth generation victims. With the sequelae left, many families were severely affected. Social mass organizations in the province usually join hands with the provincial Association for victims of Agent Orange/dioxins in Binh Duong province to carry out practical activities to care for the victims’ families such as: presenting gifts, building gratitude houses, providing nourishment and vocational training for children with disabilities, etc., thereby helping them overcome difficulties and stabilize their lives.


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