Friday , June 21 2024

US continues support for Vietnamese disabled by Agent Orange


The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the second phase of a US$65-million project to help people with disabilities in two central Vietnam provinces.

The phase, carried out via a cooperation with Vietnam’s National Action Center for Chemical and Environmental Treatment, will run until 2026 in Binh Dinh and Kon Tum provinces, the U.S. embassy said.

Starting in 2021, the INCLUSION project provides direct assistance to persons with severe disabilities, improves and expands rehabilitation and social services, and enhances policy implementation.

The project partners with the Vietnamese government, local organizations, and the private sector to strengthen the country’s rehabilitation system and community support networks to ensure that all persons with disabilities have the opportunity to fully participate in society while improving their overall quality of life.

To sustain progress, the project also builds service provider capacity of national and local government disabilities agencies as well as community disabilities organizations.

In addition to Binh Dinh and Kon Tum, the project has been carried out in six other provinces heavily sprayed with Agent Orange during the Vietnam War: Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam in the central region, and Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, and Tay Ninh in the south.

Over its five-year run, the project is expected to support a total of 60,000 persons with disabilities with rehabilitation, care, psychological support, assistive devices and/or livelihood assistance.

For over 30 years, the United States and Vietnam have partnered to improve the lives of approximately one million persons with disabilities.

USAID has contributed more than $140 million toward these efforts.

Vietnam is USAID’s largest and longest running disability program in the world, dating back to the creation of the Leahy War Victims Fund in 1989.

Between 1961 and 1971 the U.S. military sprayed 80 million liters of Agent Orange, a compound of dioxins and dioxin-like mixtures, over 78,000 square kilometers in southern Vietnam.

Dioxin stays in the soil and at the bottom of water bodies for generations, entering the food chain through meat, fish and other animals. It has been found at alarmingly high levels in human breast milk.

Between 2.1 and 4.8 million Vietnamese were estimated to be directly exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals by the time the war ended in April 1975.

These chemicals have been linked to cancers, birth defects and many chronic diseases.

This year, the United States and Vietnam are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their Comprehensive Partnership. Addressing legacies of the war is a foundational element of the bilateral relationship.

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