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Chemical Legacy

David Verberckt | Viet Nam

One of the oldest Vietnamese War Veteran that was directly exposed to Agent Orange. Specialised rehabilitation center where victims of the first generation will receive professional care for several weeks before returning home. Almost fifty years after the last use of the chemical as a defoilant and weapon by the American Army, the impact on health of the first generation and their descendants is immense. The United States has never recognised any link between Agent Orange and Vietnamese Victims' health conditions. Yen Binh, Thach That District, Vietnam, June 2018

A story of people, victim of Agent Orange chemical spraying and struggling through generations with the consequences long after the war has ended. 

The Vietnam war has ended more than forty years ago, but the country remains blighted by toxins which are not only harmful to the environment but also seriously affect human public health, causing many dangerous diseases with heredity factors. These diseases have made people sick, disabled, suffer from interminable pain and severe psychological problems.

During a period of 10 years, between 1961 and 1971, the US military sprayed about 80 million liters of toxin containing chemical defoliant of which more than 60% were dioxin rich Agent Orange. Over 3 million hectares and over 25,000 villages were sprayed, sometimes as many as 10 times, destroying every form of vegetal and human life on its path.

It is estimated that 4.8 million Vietnamese have been exposed to dioxin, including 3 million Agent Orange victims. In addition to direct victims, second, third and even fourth generation of children suffer from effects of these toxins.

Tens of thousands of people have died due to incurable diseases. Many women have experienced reproductive problems with the most disastrous consequence that their children also become Agent Orange victims, born with malformations and mental problems. They can not lead a normal life, can not work, need constant care and are among the poorest of the poorest coming from remote rural areas that were main target of intensive spraying.

For the past fifteen years, the Vietnam Association For Victims Of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), a specialized civil society organization, has been relentlessly involved in representing the interests of the victims with main focus on much needed health care and education through a country-wide network of health and educational professionals from provincial and district level to the communal level.

Despite a long passed war, the chemical legacy will unfortunately continue to affect generations to come. 

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