Some Vietnamese Children Still Live with Agent Orange Problem
The United States began a landmark project on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012 to clean up a dangerous chemical left from the defoliant Agent Orange — 50 years after American planes first sprayed it on Vietnam’s jungles to destroy enemy cover. Dioxin, which has been linked to cancer, birth defects and other disabilities, is the dangerous chemical left from the defoliant Agent Orange.
The U.S. military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971, decimating about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest — roughly the size of Massachusetts.
The Agent Orange issue has continued to blight the U.S.-Vietnam relationship because dioxin can linger in the environment for decades, entering the food supply through the fat of fish and other animals.
It is still unclear how much dioxin the U.S. will help clean up in the long term and how much it will allocate for people who claim to be Agent Orange victims.
Photos (Aug. 7-8, 2012) :
1. Vo Thi Thuy Nga, 24, left, and her uncle Vo Duoc sit inside their home in Danang, Vietnam. She was born with physical and mental disabilities that a rehabilitation center’s director said were caused by their parents’ exposure to the chemical dioxin in the defoliant Agent Orange.
2. Chu Thanh Nhan, 12, sits in an empty classroom at a rehabilitation center in Danang, Vietnam.
3. Dang Cong Chinh, center, plays with other children at a rehabilitation center in Danang, Vietnam.
4. Le Trung Hong Phuc, 9, plays with colored blocks at a rehabilitation center in Danang, Vietnam. The children were born with physical and mental disabilities that the center’s director says were caused by their parents’ exposure to the chemical dioxin in the defoliant Agent Orange.
[Credit : Maika Elan / AP]