New campaign for Agent Orange victims

Original source:

Vietnam has kicked off an 'Orange Day' campaign to raise funds for the millions of people who continue to suffer from Agent Orange-related deformities and diseases.

The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin hopes to raise £2 million for shelters, scholarships and vocational training through a range of activities.

The US dropped millions of gallons of dioxin-laced herbicides on inhabited Vietnamese jungle from the early 1960s until the early 1970s in an attempt to destroy cover used by resistance forces and drive the population into strategic hamlets.

At least 4.8 million people were exposed and Agent Orange has caused 400,000 deaths and millions of cases of cancer and other ailments.

Yesterday over 10,000 people, some in wheelchairs, rallied in central Ho Chi Minh City in support of Agent Orange victims.

Speaking earlier at an art exhibition to raise money for victims, Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet expressed 'deep gratitude to those who devoted their lives to the struggle for national independence and are now bearing the serious affects of the toxic chemical.'

Mr Nguyen called on individuals and organisations at home and abroad to continue providing support for the victims.

In March, the US Supreme Court let stand the dismissal of lawsuits against Dow Chemical, Monsanto and other companies over the use of Agent Orange.

In 1984, seven chemical companies, including Dow and Monsanto, agreed to a $180 million settlement with former US soldiers, under which most affected veterans received a one-time payment of $1,200.

The US has never paid reparations to Vietnam.