People and Power / Al-Jazeera & 101 East / Al-Jazeera – 2011-10-02 01:00:52
Children of Agent Orange
How a group of US veterans in Vietnam are trying to atone for the mistakes of the past
People and Power / Al-Jazeera
(September 28, 2011) — Fifty years ago this month, in the early stages of the Vietnam War, the US military began spraying rural areas of the country with the herbicide, Agent Orange. The programme’s goal was to defoliate forested land, depriving the enemy Viet Cong of cover and driving peasants to the cities, thus destroying the Viet Cong’s support base and food supply.
Over the next 10 years more than 80 million litres were deployed across 7.4 million hectares of Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. They were an effective defoliant, but there is strong evidence that the deadly dioxins contained in Agent Orange also had a catastrophic effect on the health of millions of Vietnamese — killing hundreds of thousands and causing dreadful diseases and birth defects in subsequent generations right up to this day.
Thousands of US servicemen — men who handled the herbicide and who operated in areas where it was deployed — were affected too, and they and their families eventually won compensation through the courts. But attempts to get similar US financial aid for the Vietnamese victims, or even much help with a clean up of polluted land, have been less successful.
With many areas of Vietnam still poisoned by the dioxin and the country’s hard pressed health and welfare services struggling to support those suffering, this film by Risto Vuorinen tells the remarkable story of the children of Agent Orange and a group of US veterans in Vietnam who are trying to atone for the mistakes of the past.
People & Power can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2230; Thursday: 0930; Friday: 0330; Saturday: 1630; Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930.
Agent Orange Still Haunts Vietnam
101 East / Al Jazeera
(September 10, 2009) — More than three decades have passed since the end of the Vietnam war. But while the guns are long silent, the conflict continues to inflict horrifying damage on millions of Vietnamese.
They are the innocent victims of herbicides, sprayed by US forces to destroy crops and denude foliage to deny the enemy cover.
A byproduct of Agent Orange, the defoliant most commonly used by the US in Vietnam, is the highly toxic chemical dioxin.
Vietnam says Agent Orange has caused 400,000 deaths and over 3 million cases of cancer and other health problems, with a third generation of babies being born with mental and physical defects. But the US government says there is no sufficient scientific evidence to link these serious health issues to exposure to Agent Orange.
As babies across Vietnam continue to be born with genetic defects, this edition of 101 East discusses the legacy of Agent Orange and asks if enough is being done for the victims of the defoliant. Presenter Laura Kyle is joined by Thao Griffiths of the Vietnam Veterans America Foundation, and Michael Michalak, the US ambassador to Vietnam.
Agent Orange Still Haunts Vietnam â€“ Part Two
This episode of 101 East airs from Thursday, Sept 10, 2009 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230; Friday: 0300; Saturday: 0530, 1730; Sunday: 0330, 1130; Monday: 1630; Tuesday: 1430; Wednesday: 0830, 1930; Thursday: 0630.