[ndlr] Signalement d’un article intéressant sur les ravages de l’Agent Orange et la décontamination.
From 1962 to 1971, the American military sprayed vast areas of Vietnam with Agent Orange, leaving dioxin contamination that has severely affected the health of three generations of Vietnamese. Now, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments have joined together in a massive cleanup project.
In the thriving industrial city of Bien Hoa, about 20 miles east of Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, there is a large air base, just beyond a sweeping bend in the Dong Nai River. During the American war in Vietnam, it was said to be the busiest airport in the world. Since the war ended in 1975, a dense cluster of four residential neighborhoods has grown up around the base. Their total population is perhaps 111,000, while the base itself, now home to advanced long-range fighter-bombers of the Vietnam People’s Air Force, has another 1,200 permanent residents.
A small drainage canal, no more than 8 or 10 feet wide, snakes its way from the west end of the runway — an area known as Pacer Ivy — for half a mile or so through one of these densely packed neighborhoods, which is called Buu Long. On a sweltering afternoon last month, toward the end of the dry season, the canal was no more than a stagnant greenish-brown murk strewn with garbage and choked in places with water hyacinths. Nonetheless, a middle-aged woman who introduced herself as Mrs. Mai was washing her hands and feet in the filthy water. Nearby, a fisherman was sitting on a low cement wall near the mouth of the canal. Nothing was biting.
The problem for Buu Long, however, is what couldn’t be seen. The canal is heavily contaminated with the most toxic substance ever created by humans: dioxin, the unintended byproduct of the defoliant known as Agent Orange, for the color-coded band on the 55-gallon barrels in which it was stored before being loaded onto the lumbering C-123 aircraft at the Bien Hoa base and sprayed over vast areas of Vietnam. During the U.S. Air Force campaign known as Operation Ranch Hand, Agent Orange was used to strip bare the coastal mangroves of the Mekong Delta and the dense triple-canopy forests that concealed enemy fighters and supply lines.
Lire la suite : Yale Environment 360, 13/05/2019.
Voir également sur le même sujet (articles signalés par Greg Nagle
PhD Forest and watershed science, Hanoi) :
- George Black, The Lethal Legacy of the Vietnam War, The Nation, 25/02/2015. Fifty years after the first US troops came ashore at Da Nang, the Vietnamese are still coping with unexploded bombs and Agent Orange.
- Le Ke Son and Charles R. Bailey, From Enemies to Partners-Vietnam, the U.S. and Agent Orange, The Aspen Institute, 08/11/2017 [présentation d’ouvrage].
- Overcoming War Legacies: The Road to Reconciliation and Future Cooperation Between the United States and Vietnam, The Aspen Institute, 26/03/2019. On March 26th the governments of the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace, hosted a landmark event examining the transformation from enemies to partners by the two countries since the end of the war in 1975
Illustration “à la une” : A Vietnamese soldier next to a hazardous warning sign for dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa air base last October © Kham/AFP/Getty Images