|President Tran Dai Quang: All dioxin victims should gain access to support policies.
Although they have struggled against diseases for years, they have never been alone in the fight.
Relatives, the community, and the Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and its chapters across Vietnam have helped them cope with the hardships and integrate into the community.
Thai Nguyen, a poor northern province, sent 25,000 people to join the resistance war.
Since the war more than 13,000 AO victims have received monthly allowances. 11,000 of them were directly affected, the rest indirectly.
Over the past five years, Thai Nguyen has mobilized US$1.35 million for AO/Dioxin victims.
Hoang Duc, chairman of the provincial association, said its members are kind individuals who live by the Vietnamese moral tradition ‘Do as you would be done by’.
Duc said, “Cadres are a decisive factor in all of the association’s activities. We try to choose those who are persevering, moral, and of a venturesome spirit. We often organize training courses for our members.”
During the war, Quang Tri was a hot combat zone intensely affected by the American army’s spraying of toxic chemicals.
Tens of thousands of people were exposed to Agent Orange/Dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind. Recent statistics put the number of victims at nearly 16,000.
|Nguyen The Son, Director of the Fund for AO Pains of the Vietnam News Agency, presents a symbol of the house of gratitude for Ms. Nguyen Thi Vien of Trieu Trung commune in Trieu Phong district, Quang Tri province. (Photo: Tran Tinh/VNA)|
Le Van Dang, chairman of Quang Tri’s Association for AO/Dioxin Victims, says that over the years the chapter has made a great effort to share the pain and difficulties of the victims.
“Over the past decade we’ve raised more than US$1 billion and donated 30,000 gift sets to AO/Dioxin victims, giving priority to families with multiple victims. We’ve also donated some 150 wheelchairs, bicycles, and scholarships, and provided free medical check-up to victims. Quang Tri asked the German government to sponsor a rehabilitation center for AO victims,” Dang said.
|Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh (L) receives a donation worth VND1.6 billion from the High Command of the Vietnamese People’s Navy to support AO victims. (Photo: NDO)|
Tien Giang is one of the AO-affected southern provinces. It has about 10,200 AO victims.
In the last decade, the provincial association for AO/Dioxin victims has presented 50,000 gift sets and built 330 houses of gratitude worth US$1.53 billion, according to the association’s chairman Le Quoc Bao.
Bao said, “Tien Giang has decided its most important task is to mobilize social resources to take care of AO victims’ health, transportation, accommodations, and study. We’ll try different, appropriate ways to inspire the sympathy of sponsors who can help AO victims. This means our mobilizing methods should be flexible, sometimes direct and sometimes indirect.”
With the motto “solidarity-sentiment-responsibility for AO/Dioxin victims”, the Associations for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin nationwide have made an effort to mobilize overseas Vietnamese and international friends to help AO victims.