Vietnam Time

12/5/2018 6:59:52 PM

Vietnam Association for Victims of AO/Dioxin aims to raise VND 1 trillion in five years

The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) aims to raise VND 1 trillion (USD 43 million) in funds to support AO victims over the next five years.

Illustrative image. (Photo: VNA)

The target was set during the association’s fourth national congress in Hanoi on December 4-5 with the participation of 350 delegates from the 63 localities nationwide.

The fund will be used to construct 1,000 houses for victims; grant 3,000 scholarships; and assist 1,000 households with capital for production. The association hopes to give wheelchairs to 80 per cent of needy AO victims and New Year gifts to all poor victims.

Over the 2018-2023 tenure, the association aims to receive an additional 50,000 members.

Addressing the event, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man lauded the achievements that the association has made so far, with its prestige and position rising in society.

Members of the association, mostly the elderly, have worked hard to overcome difficulties to support AO victims, he said.

In the tenure, the association should focus on implementing Directive No.43 of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat on the national action programme aiming to overcome the consequences of toxic chemicals used by the U.S. during the war in Vietnam, while strengthening communications on the dioxin disaster in the country, he said.

Man also called on the State and the whole community to join hands in easing the pain caused by the disaster.

A report delivered at the congress shows that during the 2013-2018 tenure, the association expanded its coverage to all the 63 localities, 610 districts, and 6,551 communes and wards, with 393,000 members.

It raised over VND 1.13 trillion (USD 48.59 million) for AO victims, 1.6 times higher than that in the previous tenure and equivalent to 58.86 per cent of the total amount raised in 15 years.

Meanwhile, struggles for justice launched by the association gave the domestic and international communities a better understanding of the consequences of dioxin and led to the US’ initial moves towards accepting their responsibilities in the field.

At the congress, the delegates elected a 97-member Central Committee of the VAVA, headed by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh. Former Vice State President Nguyen Thi Binh continued to be the Honorary President of the association.

The U.S. army sprayed some 80 million litres of toxic chemicals in Vietnam during the war, 61 per cent of which was AO, containing 366kg of dioxin. As a result, more than 3 million ha of forested land was destroyed, while basic water and food sources for millions of people were contaminated.

Preliminary statistics showed that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin. Tens of thousands of people died from exposure, while millions of others went on to suffer from cancer and other incurable diseases. Children and grand children of many victims have been affected with widespread birth deformities.

The toxic chemical still remains across 28 sites in Vietnam to date.

Most recently, Da Nang airport, one of these spots, saw all of its dioxin-polluted area detoxified, thanks to a six-year project funded by non-refundable aid from the U.S. Government worth USD 110 million. Meanwhile, another dioxin treatment project is underway at the Bien Hoa airport, based in the southern province of Dong Nai. With an estimated cost of USD 500 million, it is expected to last for 10 years.

Since 2007, the U.S. Government has run a specific budget for tackling AO/dioxin consequences in Vietnam, with total approved funds amounting to USD 218 million. The aid has mostly been injected into addressing environmental issues.

On the part of Vietnam, the Government spends about USD 50 million each year on supporting some 320,000 AO/dioxin victims, who are offered free health insurance and functional rehabilitation programmes.

The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) was established in 2004. Currently, the VAVA has 400,000 members working across 63 provinces and cities. The association has raised VND 1.8 trillion (USD 77.05 million) worth of donations for victims to date./.

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