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Orphanage

Photographer: Thai Linh Luong

 

The orphanage is home to over 156 children and 150 elderly people most with severe mental and physical handicaps. Many of the children suffer from supposed effects of Agent Orange. The United States started a historic Agent Orange clean-up for the first time in Vietnam on 09 August 2012; over 50 years after American planes sprayed the carcinogen dioxin during the Vietnam War. The US plans to excavate and clean up to 73,000 cubic meters of soil and sediment at Da Nang airport, a former air base in central Vietnam that was contaminated by the defoliant Agent Orange, the US embassy said. The chemical was used to clear cover and destroy food crops used by enemy communist troops during the Vietnam War. Da Nang airport was used as a storage area for the herbicide. Most of the children in the orphanage have to spend their days in metal beds or on wooden chairs, with 2 to 4 caretakers for each room. According to Do Duc Hong, Director of the Orphanage, funding provided for each person in the orphanage is about 40 US dollars a month. The center lacks the resources to carry out medical tests to establish links to Agent Orange, but with conditions such as birth deformities, severe skin rashes, partial paralysis and cerebral palsy it is believed that many of the children are third-generation victims of the chemical.