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US Pledges $50m for Agent Orange Victims in 7 Provinces

The United States government will partner with Vietnamese authorities to assist people with dioxin/Agent Orange-related disabilities in seven provinces. 

The US Agency for International Development announced the plans in Dong Nai yesterday at a seminar held by the Standing Agency of the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences (Office 701). The US$50 million grant will provide direct care, rehabilitation service improvements, and social services to affected citizens in Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh provinces.

Office 701 Chief of Staff Nhan Thanh Cong explained that 163,000 people in those areas suffer from permanent and extremely severe physical and mental issues. Estimates for the total number of people in Vietnam with disabilities directly linked to wartime use of chemical defoliants vary from three to eight million.

These chemicals have been found to negatively effect reproduction, physical and mental development and immune system health, as well as cause cancer and hormone imbalances.

The latest pledge comes after previous successful collaborations with local authorities. Last year the US and local officials completed a US$110 million soil clean-up project at Da Nang International Airport, and announced a US$390 million undertaking in Bien Hoa. 

Over the past 15 years, more than VND85 billion (US$3.65 million) has been provided to public and social organizations to support families and victims in terms of medical treatment, housing and employment.

Last year, Japan pledged their support in the interest of establishing closer ties between the two nations. New Japanese technology has also been a source for optimism in efforts to clean contaminated soil

[Photo via TVTS]


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