Four decades after Agent Orange – heartbreaking pictures show even now babies in Vietnam are being born with horrific defects
- Babies in Vietnam still being born with birth defects due to Agent Orange, despite 40 years since conflict with U.S.
- Chemical was sprayed on crops, plants and trees by U.S. military to destroy cover for guerrilla fighters
- The dioxin can cause a range of birth defects as well as cancer and reproductive abnormalities
- Heartbreaking pictures were captured by British-born photographer Francis Wade on trip to Vietnam
- Said he visited the Thi Nghe and Thien Phuoc orphanages to show the devastating effects still being felt
A new series of heartbreaking pictures has revealed even babies 40 years on are suffering the horrific effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Canterbury born Francis Wade captured the distressing images at the Thi Nghe and Thien Phuoc orphanages in Saigon, which are home to children born decades after the war.
Yet despite the conflict ending in 1971, the orphanages are caring for children suffering disabilities thought to be caused by a chemical used by U.S forces, which was sprayed on crops, plants and trees.
This young child, Nguyen Thanh Nhan, aged four suffers from hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, a disease associated with Agent Orange
This little boy cries out after suffering the effects of Agent Orange, which will eventually kill him
Seventeen-year-old Nguyen Canh Ngo in his bed at one of the orphanages. Many of the children here also suffer from acute mental health problems
Many of the children at the Thi Nghe orphanage suffer from deformities such as these and are bed-ridden requiring round-the-clock care
Those caring for the children sometimes tie the children to the beds or tie their hands together to prevent them from injuring themselves
In rural southern Vietnam, where much of the spraying of Agent Orange by US forces in the Vietnam War occurred, families still depend on children to work and create income.
Many of the children end up in the care of the orphanages as their families cannot afford the burden of a disabled child and they are abandoned there.
Mr Wade, a freelance journalist now based in Bangkok, explained: ‘The very sad subtext to this all, and the reason why I visited the orphanages, is that many families in Vietnam, particularly in the rural areas that were sprayed with Agent Orange are too poor to carry the burden of a disabled child, and so abandon them at orphanages.
The majority of children at Thi Nghe orphanage in Saigon were abandoned by their parents who could not afford to care for them
The children at the orphanages stay there until they are 17. After that they are then sent to adult care homes
A teenage boy sits in the corner of one of the wards at the Thien Phuoc Orphanage. Mental health is often still stigmatised in Vietnam
‘So the families living in areas where there’s still heavy contamination have the double curse of being far more likely to produce disabled offspring, and not having the means to care for them.’
Agent Orange is the combination of the code names for Herbicide Orange and Agent LNX, one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its chemical warfare programme, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971.
Over the course of 10 years, American forces sprayed nearly 20million gallons of the chemical in Vietnam, Laos and parts of Cambodia in an effort to deprive guerrilla fighters of cover by destroying plants and trees where they could find refuge.
U.S. aircraft sprayed Agent Orange over large areas of the jungle in Vietnam during the war
Scores of people died during the war from 1962 to 1971. Pictured are bodies lying on a road in Southern Vietnam
A rubber plantation in Vietnam, which was ruined after the U.S. used chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange to destroy crops and plants, which were providing cover for guerilla fighters
Children are forced to sleep on metal beds in the orphanage. Many are there because their parents are too young and poor to care for a disabled child
The daily exercise session at the Thi Nghe orphanage. The pictures were captured by British-born journalist Francis Wade
Phu My is one of 10 sisters working at Thi Nghe orphanage, which is partly funded by the Vietnam government
Those who are able to study attend classes at the Thi Nghe orphanage. This is despite the effects of Agent Orange still being felt
The chemical was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical.
It got its name from the colour of the orange-striped 55-gallon barrels in which it was shipped to Asia.
Among the illnesses contracted by people exposed to the dioxin are non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, several varieties of cancer, type 2 diabetes, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects in children, spina bifida and reproductive abnormalities, to name a few.