Defence Minister Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich pledged to continue working closely with the Vietnam Association of the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) to support AO victims during a working session in Hanoi on January 18.
|At the event (Photo: SGGP)|
Lich, who is also Vice Secretary of the Central Military Commission, also asked the General Department of Politics under the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) to direct army press agencies to open more columns featuring the sufferings of AO victims, especially on the occasion of Day for AO Victims (August 10).
The ministry’s relevant agencies were required to coordinate with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, ministries and agencies to amend the Ordinance on Ex-Revolutionaries, propose the government extend studies on recovery from chemical toxics, contributing to mitigating new exposures to AO/dioxin left over from the war.
VAVA Chairman Sen. Lieut. Gen Nguyen Van Rinh said over the past years, VAVA has offered monthly allowances and more than 4,100 scholarships to AO victims, repaired over 3,100 houses, provided free medicines for 100,000 others.
Since its establishment, VAVA received financial support from the ministry, businesses and individuals at home and abroad to build social protection and vocational training centres, and rehabilitation facilities.
The General Department of Politics has assisted the association in raising public awareness of joining hands in support of AO victims.
The VPA Chemistry Arm, the Military Medical University and the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Center have worked with VAVA on AO/dioxin research and a detoxification project, he said.
From 1961 to 1971, American troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides — 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370kg of dioxin — on southern Vietnam.
As a result, about 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the AO/dioxin effects.