The Vietnam - US Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/dioxin convened for its second roundtable conference in the southern province of Dong Nai on April 21 to review recovery efforts in the aftermath of the toxic chemical sprayed by the US troops during the Vietnam war.

Head of the group Ha Huy Thong briefed US guests on Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s recent plan of action to deal with AO consequences between now and 2020.

He also hailed the US government for working with Vietnam in the endeavor, citing its four-year Da Nang airport dioxin clean-up project as evidence.

The first stage of the project will conclude this year.

Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Environment and Social Development Office, Kyung Choe, said USAID is conducting a study on the environmental impacts of AO/dioxin in a location around Bien Hoa airport.

In coordination with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and localities nationwide, USAID has offered support to disabled and AO victims, especially children, she noted.

According to a representative from the Vietnam Federation on Disability, Vietnamese war veterans suffering from the toxic should have also benefited from the US social welfare policies as the victims have in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

From 1962-1971, 20 million gallons of defoliants were sprayed over the US airports and military bases across the southern Vietnam, destroying 5 million acres of forests and 500,000 acres of vegetables. At least 4.5 million Vietnamese have been exposed to the AO and other herbicides.

The same day, the group made a field trip to the dioxin hotspot at Bien Hoa airport and visited a centre for the disabled children in Bien Hoa city.-VNA