US to give Vietnam $170 mln for war relief efforts

By Phan Anh   December 22, 2020 | 09:36 pm PT
US to give Vietnam $170 mln for war relief efforts
A woman (L) cares for her son, a victim of Agent Orange, in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam, October 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Xavier Bourgois.
The U.S. will provide Vietnam at least $169.7 million from its Congress-approved $900 billion stimulus package, the U.S. House of Representatives announced Monday.

Of this, $14.5 million is meant for health and disability programs in areas the U.S. sprayed Agent Orange and contaminated with dioxin during the Vietnam War, and assisting those with severely impaired mobility or cognitive or developmental disabilities.

Remediation of dioxin contaminated sites will get $19 million, which might be made available to the government, including the military, for this purpose.

Another $2.5 million will be available for a war legacy reconciliation program.

During the war, the U.S. sprayed Agent Orange, a defoliant, in several parts of Vietnam to strip its forces of cover and food.

Between 1961 and 1971 some 80 million liters were sprayed over 30,000 square miles in the south.

Dioxin, a highly toxic chemical in the defoliant, has been linked to many major health problems such as cancer, mental disabilities and birth defects.

Millions of Vietnamese over several generations have suffered as a result, according to government data.

The $900 billion relief package, which received overwhelming support in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, is expected to provide for millions of Americans and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump has to sign off on the legislation.

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