This is not a question of who is responsible, legally or morally.
IT IS SIMPLY A HUMANITARIAN NEED, TO RESTORE HOPE AND DIGNITY TO A DEVASTATED PEOPLE AND END THE LEGACIES OF WAR.
But it’s not just the U.S. Government that has a role to play in repairing the damages caused by Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides.
The Vietnamese government and its people, though per capita income is less than $2,000 USD a year, have played a central role in addressing the impacts of Agent Orange. Their collective efforts represent the determination that has percolated in a country ready to heal its wounds from war.
- The Vietnamese Government provides $230 million a year for services and monthly stipends to 330,000 Vietnamese affected by their or their parent’s exposure to herbicides used during the U.S. war in Vietnam.
- The Vietnamese Government has also invested millions of dollars in reforestation projects to replant the mangroves and the Ma Da Forest, and to plant single species plantations of acacia and eucalyptus in the defoliated highlands to prevent further erosion.
- The Vietnam Red Cross and the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange have raised millions for those believed to be affected by Agent Orange-Dioxin.
“You sign a contract, it doesn’t mean the war is over.”
– Suel Jones, Vietnam Friendship Village, 2007.
Up until 2010, the single largest contributor—other than the Vietnamese Government—to Agent Orange-related remediation efforts in Vietnam was the Ford Foundation. The Foundation invested more than $11 million over 10 years, including funding the Agent Orange Record, the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group, and supporting Agent Orange-related programs in Vietnam.
The first U.S. Congressional appropriation for Agent Orange-related programs in Vietnam was in 2007 to “address the health needs of nearby communities” of “Vietnam conflict-era chemical storage sites.”
To date the U.S. has appropriated $315 million for the remediation of dioxin contaminated sites in Vietnam and health and disability programs. Three-quarters of this funding has been allocated for the clean-up of the dioxin contamination in Da Nang and Bien Hoa.
The most recent round of funding, nearly $43 Million for the period of 2015-2023, is supporting both foreign and Vietnamese NGOs that are addressing the impact of Agent Orange and also expanding their services to include:
- Inclusive and special education
- Vocational training
- Community based rehabilitation
- Special surgery, prosthetic devices and other medical care
- Training of physical and occupational therapists, and medical professionals
- Early detection and early intervention of birth defects and disabilities
- Micro-credit and income generation for poor families with ill or disabled family members
The U.S. funding, that used to focus on supporting people with disabilities regardless of cause and as a result leaving out many of those who are believed to be impacted by Agent Orange, is now targeting “health and disability programs in areas sprayed with Agent Orange and contaminated with Dioxin, to assist individuals with severe and upper and lower body mobility impairment or cognitive development disabilities.”
A presentation by Phung Tuu Boi, Boi Center for Assistance in Nature Conservation and Community Development, Vietnam and advisor to the Vietnam Victims of Agent Orange Association (VAVA).
By the Congressional Research Service, May 2020 update.
Hatfield has completed numerous assessments of Agent Orange, a dioxin-contaminated herbicide that was widely used by the US military during the US-Viet Nam war.