Nation calls for assistance in Agent Orange cleanup work

HA NOI — Viet Nam needs the help of international organisations to decontaminate Agent Orange hot spots that are still dangerous three decades after the end of the American War, says the Steering Board to Overcome Consequences of Toxic Chemicals used by the US.
Board members met in Ha Noi on Wednesday to discuss the issue of contaminated hot spots. Agent Orange/Dioxin, which is harmful to human health and the environment, is still found in areas in central and southern Viet Nam even though the American War ended 31 years ago.
The board estimated that decontamination costs for some hot spots would cost hundreds of billions of dong.
In addition, the board said further support was needed for the victims of Agent Orange, particularly in providing rehabilitation to almost 200,000 children with inborn disabilities due to contamination.
The number of children who are disabled due to Agent Orange/dioxin was high, according to a new survey conducted by the Military Institute.
The survey of nearly 48,000 veterans and their families showed that the proportion of the disabled accounted for 16.14 per cent of respondents.
The survey also showed that 2.95 per cent of children of veterans who were exposed to dioxin were handicapped, while 2.69 per cent of the third generation of veteran families were affected.
Professor Nguyen Ngoc Phuong and her research team from the HCM City Medicine-Pharmaceutical University said those who were exposed to dioxin were 14 times more likely to give birth to malformed babies.
The US army sprayed about 80 million litres of toxic chemicals on southern Viet Nam between 1961 and 1971.
Some 3 million Vietnamese people have been affected by Agent Orange/dioxin.

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