Agent Orange was a toxic herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam war from 1961 to 1971. The U.S. operation codenamed “Operation Ranch Hand” sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and several other toxic herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. These deadly herbicides destroyed and infected more than 4.5 million acres of Vietnamese land, forests, water sources, and food crops, which were the main source of food for combatants and millions of Vietnamese. Over 400,000 people died as a result of exposure to these toxic chemicals and starvation. In addition, half a million children have been born with serious congenital disabilities, and over two million people are suffering from cancer and other illness caused by Agent Orange.
Agent Orange and its harmful effects
During Operation Ranch Hand, U.S. military used Agent Orange, which was available in slightly different mixtures, sometimes referred to as Agent Orange I, Agent Orange II, Agent Orange III and “Super Orange.” The Agent Orange was manufactured with harmful ingredients, which caused plants to lose their leaves. The Dioxin in Agent Orange lasts many years in the environment and food chain. And it accumulates in fatty tissues in the bodies of animals, birds and fishes that humans eat. It can cause severe skin disease known as chloracne. Additionally, dioxin is linked to immune system dysfunction, never disorder, and heart diseases. Developing fetuses are particularly sensitive to dioxin, which is also linked to miscarriages, spina bifida and other problems with fetal brain and nervous system development.
In addition to Agent Orange, the U.S. military also used other harmful herbicides named Agent Green, Agent Pink, Agent Purple Agent Blue and Agent White. All of them had long-lasting effects on the environment.
Effects of Agent Orange on U.S. veteran’s health
The Agent Orange also effected the returning U.S military servicemen and their families. Several diseases were reported, including rashes congenital disabilities in children, cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, leukoma and other psychological symptoms. Chemical companies that manufactured these herbicides paid $240 million in compensation to the veterans and their families. In 2004, Vietnam filed a lawsuit against these chemical companies, but their case was dismissed after a year. In 2008 the U.S. supreme court also rejected their final appeal causing outrage among Vietnamese victims. The U.S. government refused to compensate Vietnamese victims of chemical warfare.
People are still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange even after 50 years of the Vietnam war. Here below are some of the photos of the victims of Agent Orange.
#1 A group of children with malformations played in July 1993 at the Agent Orange Victim Care Center in the Tu-Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
#2 Le Van O., a 14-year-old boy who was born without eyes because of the effects of Agent Orange, Hanoi, Vietnam. March 28, 2006.
#3 Thai Thi Nga, 15, of Hanoi’s Friendship Village who is victim of agent orange sings during a ceremony held 10 August 2004
#4 Le Anh The, a Vietnam War veteran and his wife Hoang Thi Huong, 45, looking at their Agent Orange affected 17-year-old son Le Anh Hung.
#5 Nguyen Xuan Minh lays in a crib at the Tu Du Hospital May 2, 2005 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
#6 A disabled and malformed victim of foliant Agent Orange, begs on the streets of Saigon to make a living, 1996
#7 A ten-year-old girl born without arms writes in her schoolbook, Ho Chi Min City, 2004
#8 Agent Orange affected 20-year-old girl Nguyen Thi Hoa lies on a bed at her house in Nhan Loc commune, 2004
#9 Jars of deformed fetuses following the mother’s exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange on display at Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, 2005
#10 Nguyen Thi Van Long, 17, a victim of the agent orange, 1998
#11 A five-year-old boy, born blind and mute because of Agent Orange poisoning, sits at the barred window of an orphanage, Hue, 2011
#12 Boys who are suffering from mental diseases caused by the agent orange, 2003
#13 Another agent orange victim that can only move around in a wheelchair, 2004
#14 Nguyen Viet, 23 years old, lays on his bed at the Tu Du Hospital May 2, 2005
#15 A helicopter sprays Agent Orange, Vietnam, 1969
#16 A child born without eyes lies in bed at an orphanage that takes care of 125 children, all born with disabilities because of Agent Orange, 2011
#17 Jars at Tu Du Hospital which contain foetuses deformed as a result of the United States’ herbicidal warfare program (Operation Ranch Hand) during the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 1995.
#18 A Vietnamese nurse holds an armless one-year-old baby allegedly affected by Agent Orange, 1995
#19 Nguyen Quy Hoa, who was born in 1982 in a village for the Vietnamese child martyrs of Agent Orange poisoning, 2005
#20 A child is hugged by a nurse at the Peace Village at Tu Du hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, 2005
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Why is the child tied to the bed?