Vietnam: Agent Orange 40 Years Later

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Dang Chi Tam, 42, a second generation victim of Agent Orange, sits with her brother Dang Chi Trung, 43, in their home in Da Nang, Vietnam. Their parents, now deceased, were long-time members of the Communist Party, and served in the wars against the French and Americans. Trung is the sole caregiver for his sister, who is mentally disabled and unable to speak or care for herself. "Even personal hygiene she doesn't know how to do," he says. "Even to go to the toilet, she doesn't know how to do." They survive on about $60 a month that is provided by the Vietnamese government. "It is very difficult for us to live," he says. "Because I have to care for her, I cannot go out for very long. It is very difficult for me to get a job." The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that 3 million Vietnamese suffer from illnesses related to dioxin exposure, including at least 150,000 people born with severe birth defects since the end of the war. The U.S. government is paying to clean up dioxin-contaminated soil at the Da Nang airport, which served as a major U.S. base during the conflict. But the U.S. government still denies that dioxin is to blame for widespread health problems in Vietnam and has never provided any money specifically to help the country's Agent Orange victims. May 29, 2012.
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