The inheritance from the Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War US forces sprayed the forests of southern Vietnam with the herbicide called Agent Orange. But it did more than get rid of the leaves. In over 40 years the Vietnamese people has experienced collateral damage from the American warfare.

In 2002 the Vietnamese Red Cross estimated that Agent Orange has affected 1 million peoples health. Of those on million 100.000 are children.

The many kids that are being born with handicaps, birth defects of all kinds and severe intellectual disabilities are so-called second and third generation victims. The poison in Agent Orange is being passed down through generations. It is extremely hard to prove that it Agent Orange is the cause of a child’s suffering. To be sure the background of the person in question has to be examined carefully. Both the regional affiliation and family line three generations back has to be established.

Many of the children who are suspected victims of the poisonous Agent Orange has been abandoned by their parents at orphanages and hospitals as these in Ho Chi Minh City. This aspect makes it an almost impossible detective assignment to establish if Agent Orange is to blame for the children’s suffering.

While the American government has recognized that many Vietnam veterans and their descendants has been affected by Agent Orange, Vietnamese organisations has been fighting for decades to get USA and the chemical companies to recognize the damages that Agent Orange is still causing to this date.

No one can say for sure how long Agent Orange will keep affecting future generations in Vietnam. 

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