|Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Rinh, President of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA), presented gifts to AO/dioxin victims in Soc Trang province on January 5. (Photo: VNA)
The 55 packages of gifts, each worth 1.15 million VND (49.77 USD) were bought with donations by agencies, organisations and donors in response to campaigns to support AO victims, launched by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee and the VAVA Central Committee of the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.
From 1961 to 1971, the US army sprayed 80 million litres of toxic chemicals, 61 per cent of which was AO that contained at least 366kg of dioxin – one of the most toxic substances ever known in history, on nearly 25 percent of the area of southern Vietnam.
Preliminary statistics showed that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin, and about 3 million people became victims. Tens of thousands of people have died while millions of others have suffered from cancer and other incurable diseases as consequences of exposure. Many of their offspring have also suffered from birth deformities.
According to Nguyen Dai Luong, President of Soc Trang province’s AO Victims Association, the locality has more than 14,000 AO victims, of whom only over 2,600 are benefiting from social policy while many of the remainder are living in difficult circumstances.
Over the past time, the provincial association has called for the support of donors for the victims, especially on the occasion of New Year, he said.