More than 30 years after it ended, the Vietnam War is still having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary people. Up to five million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, a deadly herbicide sprayed by the U.S. Army over wide areas.
The chemical killed tens of thousands but has left a tragic legacy of birth defects and disabilities in those born long after the war.
Almost 80 million litres of the poisonous herbicide was sprayed by the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam. The aim was to destroy the jungle that provided cover for the Vietnamese army.
But the powerful weed killer contained one of the world’s most toxic chemicals – dioxin. Cancer, birth defects, psychiatric disorders and diabetes are just a few of the diseases caused by it.
Vu Tan Kim was a soldier during the war. He says when the chemical was sprayed on their base, they didn’t know how dangerous it was. Only after his daughter was born he was told by doctors the dioxin he was exposed to had affected his genes. His daughter is blind, her arms and legs are deformed and she is mentally handicapped.
“If I had my leg cut or went blind, that’s ok. But here my blood was poisoned and even though the war ended in Vietnam, every time I come home I feel very sad when I see my daughter,” he says.
He says the one dollar a day he gets from his government is not enough and that it’s the U.S. who should compensate.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t