President Pro Tempore of the US Senate Patrick Leahy attended a ceremony to kick off the dioxin-contaminated treatment system at Da Nang airport while touring Da Nang city on April 19 as part of his Vietnam visit from April 16-20.

The senator met with municipal leaders during which he expressed his pleasure to return Vietnam after his first 1996 visit.

This visit aimed to seek measures to deal with the consequences of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from wars, which is ongoing between the US and Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence, he told the hosts.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Van Huu Chien informed the senator and his entourage of investment outcomes of US firms as well as humanitarian activities held by US charity organisations in the city.

Later, the senator and his spouse partook in a ceremony to grant wheelchairs and hearing aids, sponsored by the US Agency for International Development, for people with disabilities in the city.

Da Nang is home to over 5,000 AO victims, more than 1,400 of whom are children.

From 1961 to 1971, the US Army sprayed nearly 80 million litres of toxic chemicals to the south of Vietnam , 61 percent of which was Agent Orange laced with 366 kg of dioxin.

Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to the deadly poison, with over 3 million of them dying or painfully struggling from its serious effects.

On April 20, Leahy left Hanoi, concluding his five-day visit to Vietnam.-VNA