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Thousands Affected By Agent Orange in Dak Lak
HANOI, Aug 25 (AFP)
More than 6,000 people in the central Vietnam province of Dak Lak have suffered from the use of chemical Agent Orange by U.S. forces during the war, a provincial official said on Wednesday.
According to a survey concluded in August, some 2,788 people were directly affected by exposure to the chemical or through foodstuffs sprayed, while more than 3,000 children whose parents were exposed were born with deformities, an official from the provincial department of labor, invalids and social affairs told AFP.
A total 1,031 people died from causes related to the chemical defoliant used by U.S. forces during the war, he added.
The survey was part of a national census of Agent Orange victims launched earlier this year in 55 provinces believed to be suffering from the chemical's effects.
Dak Lak saw some of the fiercest fighting during the Vietnam War, and has a high percentage of accidents from unexploded ordnance.
Hanoi has never officially sought compensation from the Americans for the victims of Agent Orange but the subject was raised when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited in 1997.
Recently U.S. researcher Arnold Schecter from the University of Texas worked with Vietnamese colleagues to collect blood samples that could help pinpoint the link between Agent Orange and health problems.