German newspaper: Consequences of Agent Orange lingers in Vietnam
The author of the article, Stefan Brändle, described 79-year-old Nga as a woman with a robust appearance but suffering from many different severe diseases such as breast cancer, type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, alpha thalassemia and heart-related diseases.
When she was exposed to AO/dioxin in 1966, Nga did not know about the fatal effect of the chemical that can transmit to later generations. But when she gave birth to her first child in 1969, the baby girl lived only 17 months and died due to respiratory and skin problems. Her two others daughters are still alive but have poor health conditions, and a grand-daughter of Nga suffers from heart diseases.
The author wrote that during 1961-1971, the US army sprayed 80 million litres of herbicides and defoliants, 46 million litres of which were AO produced by many companies, including the US chemical manufacturer Monsanto, which is now part of the Bayer Group, in order to defoliate entire forests and track down Vietnamese soldiers.
Agent Orange, which also contains the poisonous dioxin and directly attacks the genetic make-up, has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of sick people in Vietnam.
Even today, in the fourth generation after the end of the war, around 6,000 babies with deformities and serious diseases are born in Vietnam every year, the article stressed.
In 1984, US veterans who participated in the Vietnam war were paid almost 180 million USD in compensation. However, Vietnamese AO victims have been paid nothing.
Nga, therefore, filed a lawsuit at Evry, France, where she now lives, against 14 chemical giants such as Monsanto or Dow Chemical in 2004. The ruling is expected to be issued on May 10.
According to the article, after that day, the defendants can appeal and that would be a disadvantage for Nga, as doctors said that the 79-year-old doesn't have much time left.
However, the Vietnamese French woman is still not discouraged, as she wants to expand the lawsuit to include the offense of “ecocide” - a crime against nature. The French National Assembly included the term in its new climate law at the beginning of May, the article wrote.
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