Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vietnam / United States / Agent Orange

$300 Mln to Cope with Agent Orange in Vietnam
By Margie Mason
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, June 16, 2010
Photo: "In this photo taken Monday May 10, 2010, Nguyen Tuan Tu, a second generation Agent Orange victim who was born without eyes, rests at the Center of Nurturing Old People and Disabled Children at Ba Vi, outside Hanoi, Vietnam." (Nick Ut/AP)
"Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War, a $300 million price tag has been placed on the most contentious legacy still tainting U.S.-Vietnam relations: Agent Orange. A joint panel of US and Vietnamese policymakers, citizens and scientists released an action plan Wednesday, urging the US government and other donors to provide an estimated $30 million annually over 10 years to clean up sites still contaminated by dioxin, a toxic chemical used in the defoliant. The funding would also be used to treat Vietnamese suffering from disabilities, including those believed linked to exposure to Agent Orange, which was dumped by the US military in vast quantities over former South Vietnam to destroy crops and jungle cover shielding communist guerrilla fighters. Washington has been slow to address the issue, quibbling for years with its former foe over the need for more scientific research to show that the herbicide sprayed by U.S. aircraft during the war caused health problems and birth defects among Vietnamese.
'We are talking about something that is a major legacy of the Vietnam War, a major irritant in this important relationship,' said Walter Isaacson, co-chair of the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin that released the report. 'The cleanup of our mess from the Vietnam War will be far less costly than the Gulf oil spill that BP will have to clean up.' The dialogue group was formed in 2007 to look for ways to address the lingering issue. It is supported by the nonprofit Ford Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Aspen Institute."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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