Vietnam promises to find overseas jobs for fishers affected by toxic spill disaster

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Fishermen in Ha Tinh Province now struggle to make a living. Photo: Tri Minh Fishermen in Ha Tinh Province now struggle to make a living. Photo: Tri Minh

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Vietnam’s labor ministry has pledged to give priority in labor export programs to fishers whose livelihood has been as stake due to a toxic spill disaster linked to Taiwanese steel firm Formosa. 
Doan Mau Diep, the deputy labor minister, said at a press briefing Tuesday the government will support those directly affected by the mass fish deaths in the four provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue in April.
The incident, possibly the biggest environmental crisis in Vietnam’s history, has destroyed a large part of the sea creature population in the area. Even if the fishers could catch anything now, they cannot sell it to anyone as there has been a safety scare looming large across the country.
Diep said the ministry can help send local fishers to work in Germany, Japan and South Korea.
The labor pact with South Korea was renewed in May for 3,500 workers.
Diep said some parts of the affected provinces are blacklisted for having many workers overstaying in South Korea in the past. But he promised that the ministry will lift the restriction for now.
Three other labor export programs send technical interns to Japan, and nurses to Japan and Germany. All candidates will receive training and attend foreign language classes for free.
Diep said there are also new opportunities in Thailand, which is accepting Vietnamese workers for fishing and construction jobs.
Formosa has pledged to compensate fishers in the affected provinces US$500 million for causing the environment crisis that killed around 100 tons of fish.
Scientists who helped investigate the cause of the disaster said the regional environment will need at least 50 years to recover from the toxic spill.

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