Thursday, March 13, 2014

The orphans of Agent Orange: Fifty years on, children suffer from the horrific effects of America’s use of chemical weapons during the Vietnam War


  • Photos show orphans suffering from the effects of chemical, Agent Orange
  • They can be seen battling range of physical deformities and mental disorders
  • Some have missing or deformed limbs, while others have very curved spines
  • Several are deaf, blind and mute - and have been bed-ridden for most of lives
  • Images taken by photographer Matt Lief Anderson at orphanage in Vietnam
  • U.S. forces sprayed Agent Orange over large areas of jungle during 1960s
  • One million people believed to have been affected, including 150,000 children
By Sophie Jane Evans


These photos show orphans suffering from the horrific effects of America's use of chemical weapons during the Vietnam War.

The children were born decades after U.S. forces sprayed the herbicide dioxin, Agent Orange, over large areas of jungle in the 1960s.

But they are still battling the effects of the chemical today - including physical deformities and mental disorders. 
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Horrific: This photo shows a young orphan suffering from the effects of the herbicide dioxin, Agent Orange
Horrific: This photo shows a young orphan suffering from the effects of the herbicide dioxin, Agent Orange

Suffering: The children were born decades after U.S. forces sprayed the chemical over Vietnam in the 1960s
Suffering: The children were born decades after U.S. forces sprayed the chemical over Vietnam in the 1960s

Abandoned: However, they are still battling the effects of the chemical, such as physical and mental disorders
Abandoned: However, they are still battling the effects of the chemical, such as physical and mental disorders


The shocking images were taken by American photographer Matt Lief Anderson, 30, at an orphanage outside of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Abandoned by their parents, 20 children can be seen living side by side in one room, each confined to a small metal bed with just a rug covering the bars.
 
They are suffering from a range of physical deformities caused by Agent Orange, including missing or under-developed limbs and extremely curved spines.

Some are deaf, blind and mute, while others have been bed-ridden for most of their young lives.
Metal bed: The shocking images were taken by American photographer Matt Lief Anderson, 30, at an orphanage outside of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Above, two toddlers lie in a metal bed with just a rug
Metal bed: The shocking images were taken by American photographer Matt Lief Anderson, 30, at an orphanage outside of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Above, two toddlers lie in a metal bed with just a rug

Trying to sleep: The 20 children can be seen living side by side in one room, each confined to a small bed
Trying to sleep: The 20 children can be seen living side by side in one room, each confined to a small bed


During his time at the orphanage, Mr Anderson met and took photos of children as young as 18-months-old.

'The children are living in terrible conditions and suffering from a gamut of afflictions caused by chemicals that my country used against them,' he said.

'Americans are the ones responsible, but we aren't giving any aid to the country at all. I felt horrible photographing these poor children.'
Ravaged: They are suffering from a range of physical deformities, including missing or under-developed limbs
Ravaged: They are suffering from a range of physical deformities, including missing or under-developed limbs

All alone: Some are deaf, blind and mute, while others have been bed-ridden for most of their young lives
All alone: Some are deaf, blind and mute, while others have been bed-ridden for most of their young lives


During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel over parts of Vietnam, eastern Laos and Cambodia.

Agent Orange is the combination of the code names for Herbicide Orange and Agent LNX - one of the herbicides and defoliants used as part of its chemical warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand.

The program's goal was to destroy forested and rural land - depriving guerrilla fighters of cover while cutting off their food supply.
Chemical attack: During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel over parts of Vietnam, eastern Laos and Cambodia. Above, a U.S. plane sprays the toxic chemical over a South Vietnamese jungle
Chemical attack: During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel over parts of Vietnam, eastern Laos and Cambodia. Above, a U.S. plane sprays the toxic chemical over a South Vietnamese jungle


Deaths: Bodies of women and children lie on a road in South Vietnam following a U.S. air strike during the war
Deaths: Bodies of women and children lie on a road in South Vietnam following a U.S. air strike during the war


But its devastating effects continue to this day - with many deformed children forced to live a life of destitution on the streets or in low-funded orphanages. 

Mr Anderson, from Illinois, said he was shocked that the U.S. government 'has not offered any aid' to victims of the chemical attack.

'The official stance is that there isn't enough evidence to link the health problems to America's use of chemicals like Agent Orange,' he said.
In pain: The attack's devastating effects continue to this day - with many children deformed and suffering
In pain: The attack's devastating effects continue to this day - with many children deformed and suffering

Different life: Mr Anderson said he was shocked that the U.S. government 'has not offered any aid' to victims
Different life: Mr Anderson said he was shocked that the U.S. government 'has not offered any aid' to victims

'Most children with these issues go into adoption or are forced into a life on the streets. The orphanages have very low funds and rely on donations for food and clothing and are unable to give proper training to the staff.

'Most of my photos are different to this series, and they receive an overwhelming positive response. But these photos get an entirely different reaction. People don't want to see how bad it is.'

According to the Vietnam Red Cross, about one million Vietnamese people have been affected by Agent Orange, including 150,000 children who have suffered from birth defects, CNN reported.
Protesting: About one million Vietnamese people have reportedly been affected by Agent Orange
Protesting: About one million Vietnamese people have reportedly been affected by Agent Orange
Sad: This number includes 150,000 children suffering from birth defects, such as Xuan Minh, 5 (pictured right)
Sad: This number includes 150,000 children suffering from birth defects, such as Xuan Minh, 5 (pictured right)

Victims: Among the illnesses contracted by people exposed to the dioxin are non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer, type 2 diabetes, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects in children, spina bifida and reproductive abnormalities
Victims: Among the illnesses contracted by people exposed to the dioxin are non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer, type 2 diabetes, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects in children, spina bifida and reproductive abnormalities


The U.S. government, however, has dismissed these figures as unreliable and exaggerated.
Among the illnesses contracted by people exposed to the dioxin are non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer, type 2 diabetes, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects in children, spina bifida and reproductive abnormalities.

Last year, the Association for Victims of Agent Orange in Ho Chi Minh City filed its fourth lawsuit against American chemical companies that produced Agent Orange.
The orphanage is collecting donations via its website: www.orphansfuturesalliance.org.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2579939/Children-suffer-horrific-effects-Americas-use-chemical-weapons-Vietnam-War.html#ixzz2vqoiQzaP
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