Thursday, January 03, 2013

Agent Orange Cleanup: Hope and Optimism in Vietnam

Planned Agent Orange cleanup met with optimism in Vietnam
The U.S. will begin work in 2013 cleaning up the Agent Orange storage site in the central Vietnamese port city of Da Nang. (Photo courtesy Richard Nyberg, USAID)

HANOI, Vietnam — January 1st, 2013 - Nguyen Thuy Linh, 8, concentrated on the page in front of her. On it, her teacher had outlined the numbers 1 through 10 in short dashes, and Linh was painstakingly tracing over them with the blue marker clutched in her hand.

As she completed each number she said it out loud in Vietnamese. "Bon," she announced as she finished the number 4 and starts on five. "Nam."

This is good progress for the young student at the Vietnamese Friendship Village in Hanoi, Vietnam. When she first arrived a short time ago, she spoke in noises and grunts instead of words. Now she's learned a few simple phrases and greetings.

"We're helping her to communicate very slowly," said her teacher, Nguyen Thi Oanh, speaking through an interpreter. "It's challenging because she cannot pay attention for long."

Officials at the Vietnam Friendship Village believe Linh's disabilities, and the disabilities of all the young people they serve, were caused by Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War, 20 million gallons of the herbicide were used by the U.S. military to defoliate acres upon of acres of jungle and destroy crops. read more>>>

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