U.S. Commits $65M for Vietnam to Support People with Disabilities in Next 5 Yrs

Vietnam and the U.S. have signed to launch a project, in which the U.S. has committed $65 million in official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam to support people with disabilities in eight Agent Orange-hit localities within the next five years, local media reported. The deal was part of a ceremony announcing initial outcomes of the dioxin settlement project at Bien Hoa airbase, held by the U.S. Mission to Vietnam, the Standing office of the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences (Steering Committee 701), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in southern Dong Nai city on January 20. The event was attended by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of National Defense, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J.Kritenbrink, U.S. Consul General in Vietnam Marie C.Damour, and USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Ann Marie Yastishock. Along with VND75 billion ($3.23 million) in reciprocal capital from state budget, the five-year project is expected to help at least 100,000 people with disabilities and their families from four central provinces of Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Tri, and Binh Dinh; three southern provinces of Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, and Tay Ninh; and the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum. Regarding the dioxin remediation project, as many as 1,134 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated land have been removed from a lake in a Bien Hoa city’s park over the past year. In the coming weeks, after the restoration of grass and trees in the park, the USAID and Vietnam’s Air Defense Air Force Command (ADAFC) will hand over the land to Bien Hoa City. This result is the first milestone achieved through the $300 million of the U.S. Government's commitment to restoring the airbase and surrounding areas, which will take ten years to complete. Speaking to the local press, the U.S. Ambassador commended the project's progress, which contributed to the consolidation of the relations between the two countries. The underway project is one of the significant activities within the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam-U.S. diplomatic ties, he stressed. On the occasion, USAID and ADAFC also signed an additional land handover agreement which will focus on the removal of contaminated sediment on the airbase over the next two years. Additionally, the U.S. Government, through USAID, signed a letter of intent with Steering Committee 701’s Standing office for cooperative communication on Vietnam post-war UXO and toxic chemical settlement. (QDND, Thanh Nien, cand, Kinh Te Do Thi, Tuoi Tre, Bao Chinh Phu, Bao Quoc Te, Tuoi Tre, VOV, Bao Dong Nai, Lao Dong, Vietnam Plus, Tin Tuc, VTV, VietnamNet, Zing, Saigon Times, Dan Viet, Dan Tri, Kinh Te Moi Truong)