Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vietnam's AO Association Reflects On 10-Year Progress


HANOI, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin (VAVA) has attempted to support and protect the rights of AO victims nationwide since it began life on Jan 10, 2004, helping them to overcome the consequences of the toxic chemical, which was used extensively by the United States during its war in Vietnam. The association has established branches in 59 cities and provinces with over 315,000 members and set up funds in 33 localities and 24 rehabilitation centres in 20 provinces and cities, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported. It has raised nearly 718 billion VND (US$34 million) in and outside the country to repair and build houses, grant scholarships, generate jobs and offer storm relief for AO victims and their families. VAVA now has relations with about 500 organisations and individuals from 30 nations around the world. According to the association, US forces sprayed 80 million litres of Agent Orange containing almost 400kg of dioxin on Vietnam's southern battlefields over a 10-year period beginning on August 10, 1961 . Preliminary statistics by Vietnamese scientists indicate about three million Vietnamese people were exposed to dioxin. The toxic chemical has had a severe impact on Vietnam's subsequent generations. Since its foundation, VAVA has represented victims nationwide in their legal fight demanding US chemical companies take responsibility for the consequences they left during the war in Vietnam. The association has collected 12.5 million signatures advocating the struggle for justice of Vietnamese AO victims. As many as 35 international organisations and 25 countries have voiced their support for the Vietnamese victims. The US also decided to fund about US$84 million to address the war aftermath in Vietnam. The country will also provide US$5 million each year to help AO victims and people with disabilities assess medical checkups and treatment. During its 2013-2018 tenure, VAVA will continue the justice fight for AO victims.

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