US pledges $17 million for Da Nang dioxin decontamination project

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The US has allocated US$17 million for a project to clean up dioxin around the Da Nang Airport in the central city, according to the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.

Nguyen Van Rinh, the association president, made the announcement at a press briefing Thursday on the association's trip to the US between November 11 and December 12 to gain support for Agent Orange victims from US people and politicians.

The US government will give $70 million in aid to Vietnam, including Agent Orange victims, in the fiscal year of 2011, he said.

Rinh said the clean-up would be launched next summer.

He said up to $35 million was needed to clear the contaminated area.

The toxin absorbed in the soil has been linked to increased incidence of birth defects and at least 12 chronic diseases - including Spina Bifidia and several types of cancer.

Vietnam currently has several dioxin hotspots, including Phu Cat Airport in the central province of Binh Dinh and Bien Hoa Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai, that were yet to receive any decontimanation aid, Rinh said.

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