New website tackles Agent Orange legacy in Vietnam

A new website aimed at raising awareness about the continuing effects of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam, and garnering support for a plan to address the health and environmental impact of the herbicides sprayed in Vietnam during the war.

SOCIETY showcases the positive efforts of those involved in addressing the continuing impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam. It also offers multimedia resources to help users better understand the issue, and suggests ways to help the cause.

"Our hope is that this website will become an important resource for people who urgently want to tackle this issue," said Shaady Salehi, deputy director of Active Voice. "Recent progress has created a window of opportunity for the U.S. to intensify its effort to reduce the public health impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam. This is a humanitarian concern that we can do something about."

Agent Orange remains o­ne of the last contentious issues between the U.S. and Vietnam. Thirty-five years since the end of the war, an estimated 4.5 million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin. An estimated 3 million Vietnamese suffered health effects, including at least 150,000 children suffering from birth defects and severe illnesses. Some 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides were stored, handled and sprayed over a quarter of southern Vietnam.

The website calls o­n people to support the "Declaration and Plan of Action," released by the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group o­n Agent Orange/Dioxin in June 2010.

The plan calls for a 10-year effort, with support from the U.S. government, other countries, foundations and NGOs, to join in a partnership to help clean up the "hot spots" of concentrated Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam. The report would greatly expand humanitarian assistance to people throughout the country.

The U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group and Make Agent Orange History are funded by the Ford Foundation.