Over 360 billion VND mobilised for AO victims despite COVID-19 and natural disasters

During this year, about 367 billion VND was mobilised for Agent Orange/Dioxin (AO) victims despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19 and natural disasters.

At Hoa Binh village in Ho Chi Minh City, which is home to AO-infected children. Photo: VNA

The information was released during a meeting of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) Central Committee in Hanoi on December 7 to review five years of implementing Directive No 43-CT/TW from the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat on the strengthening of the Party in the settlement of consequences of AO used by the US during the war in Vietnam, and to sketch out orientations for the association in 2021.

According to VAVA Vice President Dang Nam Dien, this year, despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19 and natural disasters, the VAVA’s chapters at all levels have managed to complete all tasks assigned.

During the year, some 367 billion VND was mobilised for AO victims, which was used to build 1,041 houses for the needy, and provide capital to more than 1,300 people, scholarships to nearly 3,100 students, and nursing care to more than 4,000 people. Healthcare services, dioxin detoxification, and Tet gifts were also presented to thousands of victims.

Activities to claim justice for the victims, meanwhile, have been moving in the right direction, he said.

Presenting gifts to dioxin victims in Ha Tinh province. Source: VAVA

The VAVA has raised more than 1.5 trillion VND (64.44 million USD) in the last five years to support victims, according to association Vice President Dang Nam Dien.

In 2021, the VAVA will organise an event marking 60 years of the AO disaster in Vietnam (August 10) while implementing people’s diplomacy activities and giving advice to the Party and the State on suitable policies for AO victims and their offspring.

The VAVA central committee has launched an emulation movement, “For AO victims in 2021”, while honouring collectives and individuals displaying outstanding performance in 2020.

The US army sprayed some 80 million litres of toxic chemicals, 61 percent of which was AO and contained 366 kilos of dioxin, over nearly a quarter of southern Vietnam’s total area from 1961 to 1971.

Figures show that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin and about 3 million people became victims. Tens of thousands have died while millions of others have suffered from cancer and other incurable diseases as a consequence of exposure. Many of their offspring suffered birth deformities.

Vietnamese Government has been making utmost efforts to address war consequences, including those related to AO/dioxin.

To protect people’s health, Vietnam has completely banned the use of chemical products derived from dioxin or glyphosate since 2019.

It has also boosted coordination with the US to clean up AO/dioxin-contaminated areas like Bien Hoa and Da Nang airports.

Pham Mai