VIENTIANE: The National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector (NRA) in Laos agreed to partner with the War Legacies Project, which will see Phase II of a survey on the use of Agent Orange and support for people with birth defects associated with exposure to the chemical dioxin.
According to a report issued by the NRA on Wednesday (Nov 1), an agreement on partnership in the project was signed by representatives of the two parties in Lao capital Vientiane last Friday.
The project has been authorized under a memorandum of understanding between Laos' Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Laos, and the War Legacies Project.
The agreement was signed by the Director General of the NRA, Chomyaeng Phengthongsawath, and the Project Manager of the War Legacies Project in Laos, Jacquelyn Chagnon.
The partnership aims to survey and collect information on the number of people who may have been affected by the use of dioxin, a herbicide, which was contained in the chemical known as Agent Orange used as a defoliant during the US-Vietnam War.
It was reported that over 2.3 million litres of the chemical was sprayed on the Lao portion of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, affecting approximately 66,800 hectares of land.
The project also aims to ensure that assistance is provided to people affected by dioxin and to raise awareness about the effects of toxic chemicals on many generations of people in Laos.
Another goal is to warn people living in target areas to be aware of the long-term dangers of dioxin to human health and the environment.
People in affected provinces who survived and family members who were affected by Agent Orange or Yellow Rain and suffered severe symptoms have received treatment, been assisted with treatment fees for rehabilitation, and have received support for meals and travel expenses while attending professional training.
The project, which comprises three main activities, including surveying and compiling statistics on victims of Agent Orange, will be carried out in Savannakhet and Salavan province.
The War Legacies Project is a US-based multinational non-governmental organisation that began in 2008 with the vision of mitigating and ultimately eliminating the legacies of America's war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and helping the people still impacted by toxic herbicides and explosive remnants in affected countries. -- Xinhua