FORTY years after the end of the Vietnam War this is a country which should be rising back to its feet.
Instead it is crippled by the effects of Agent Orange, a chemical sprayed during combat, stripping leaves off trees to remove enemy cover.
Its contaminant, dioxin — now regarded as one of the most toxic chemicals known to man — remains in Vietnam’s ecosystem, in the soil and in the fish people eat from rivers.
Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people have been exposed, causing 400,000 deaths; the associated illnesses include cancers, birth defects, skin disorders, auto-immune diseases, liver disorders, psychosocial effects, neurological defects and gastrointestinal diseases.
According to the Red Cross of Vietnam, up to one million people are currently disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange, 100,000 of which are children.
After seeing these images, perhaps you won’t be able to live in denial…