People-to-people diplomacy crucial for better AO victim support hinh anh 1Chairman of the VAVA chapter in Soc Trang province Nguyen Dai Luong (R) presents Tran To Nga - an AO/dioxin victim - with papers collecting signatures that support her lawsuit (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Grassroots chapters of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin (VAVA) should engage in more people-to-people diplomatic activities so as to enhance support to the victims and their fight for justice.

VAVA Chairman Nguyen Van Rinh made the request at the third meeting of the association in the 2013-2018 tenure, held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 29.

He asked VAVA’s subordinate bodies to consolidate their organisation, closely follow the victims’ health conditions and life, and ensure the implementation of policies designed for the targeted group.

He also suggested the units renovate fund-raising methods, diversify sponsorship sources and optimise their funds.

Eleven VAVA chapters at the district level and 218 others at the communal level were set up in 2015. The association has so far been present in 61 out of the 63 provinces and cities, 593 of the 666 districts, and 6,341 of the 9,242 communes.

Gifts, scholarships, wheelchairs, free check-ups, house repair and building, production aid were presented to more than 265,600 AO/dioxin victims nationwide this year. Caring centres and facilities that will employ AO/dioxin victims are being built in many localities, the meeting heard.

A number of communication activities have also successfully mobilised the public’s assistance such as a walk at Dam Sen Park in HCM City that attracted almost 10,000 people, an exchange with the victims held by the VAVA chapter in Da Nang city, and a fund-raising campaign for a lawsuit launched by Tran To Nga – an AO/dioxin victim.

The US military sprayed some 80 million litres of toxic chemicals from 1961 to 1971, 61 percent of which was AO containing 366 kilograms of dioxin, over nearly one quarter of the total area of South Vietnam.

Preliminary statistics showed that 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/dioxin and about 3 million people became victims. Tens of thousands of people have died while millions of others have suffered from cancer and other incurable diseases as a result. Many of their offspring suffer from birth deformities.-VNA