How to deal with the consequences of toxic Agent Orange chemical sprayed by US troops during the American war in Vietnam was discussed at a recent seminar held by the Belgium-Vietnam Friendship Association (BVFA).

At the event, held on October 18 at the European Parliament (EP), representatives from the friendship associations with Vietnam from France, Germany, Hungary, Poland as well as the European Left, emphasised the severe and long lasting impacts caused by the defoliant on the Vietnamese environment and people.

They recalled their meetings with the AO victims who are taken care of in Hanoi, saying these lives serve as the grounds for proving the long-term devastating effects of the chemical.

The BVFA issued a resolution on dioxin issue, asking the European Commission and the EP to make fact-finding tours of Vietnam and take actions to support AO/dioxin victims. The resolution will be submitted to the EP.

In November 2011, a European Parliamentarian group submitted to the EP a draft resolution asking the EU organisations, the EC and the EP itself to take concrete actions assisting Vietnam in dealing with AO consequences.

From 1961-1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides - 44 million litres of which were AO that contained nearly 370kg of dioxin - over southern Vietnam.

As a result, around 3.5–4 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases due to the effects of AO.

The Aspen Institute, a partner in the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, estimates that Vietnam needs around 410 million USD to deal with the consequences of the toxic dioxin in the 2012–2017 period.-VNA