Staff of the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, and a large number of their supporters held a vigil at Roshanpura Square today in support of the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange have declared August 10th, the first day that the US army sprayed chemicals over Vietnam, to be Vietnam Day for Agent Orange Victims. Holding candles and carrying pictures of Vietnamese victims, members of Sambhavna collected signatures on a global petition in solidarity with the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.
The petition supports the class action lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese victims in the US federal court. The suit seeks compensation from Dow Chemical and 36 other American chemical companies, which produced Agent Orange for the US army. Dow Chemical Company is the present owner of Union Carbide Corporation that caused the gas disaster in Bhopal in December 1984.
From 1961 to 1971, during its invasion of Vietnam, the US army sprayed 79 million litres of Agent Orange and other defoliants to destroy over 3 million hectares of forests in southern Vietnam. Agent Orange contained a high content of toxic dioxin, which caused genetic changes, cancer and deformities in the affected victims and their children and grandchildren. Of the 3 million victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam over 50, 000 have died of cancer and other diseases caused by exposure to Dioxin. Currently there are 50 thousand Vietnamese children with cleft lip, missing or shortened limbs, paralysis and other birth deformities.
The Sambhavna Trust Clinic provides free medical care to the survivors of the December 1984 gas disaster as well as to the residents of the communities affected by ground water contamination by Union Carbide. Please visit www.bhopal.org for more information about the Clinic.