Assistance for Victims
Various favorable policies for UXO victims actively and effectively implemented
Policies supporting victims in community integration
Right when the war ended, the Party and State defined that the settlement of UXO consequences is an immediate and long-lasting mission. According to Vice Director of the Social Protection Department under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs To Duc, support for UXO victims has seen encouraging results, providing favorable conditions for the victims to integrate into the community. There are now more than one million people with disabilities and severe disabilities, including UXO victims, enjoying monthly social allowances and health insurance.
Vocational training for people with disabilities in Tan Yen, Bac Giang province. Photo courtesy: MANH DUNG
At present, 100% of the communes and wards in the whole country have completed the classification of people with disabilities and issued them with disability cards. UXO victims can have health physically rehabilitated and enjoy social assistance with the support of the State and communities so that they can integrate in social activities like learning and working. Essential social assistance for UXO victims include orthopedic surgery, physical health rehabilitation, economic support, loan provision, vocational training, job promotion, business operation, psychological consultation and physical therapies, labor therapy, social work, language learning therapy, provision of social welfare. The social assistance network has been formed and developed in the whole country. Of the 418 social assistance sites in the whole country, there are 73 sites for people with disabilities, including UXO victims, and 45 special social work centers. This network provides rehabilitation and occupational services and carries out social work for people with disabilities.
Vietnam now has 107 special education centers and 2,500 schools offering integrated education. Four pedagogy universities have also offered the major on special education and three colleges have established their special education faculties. This education system and social assistance network have helped 1.1 million children with disabilities, including UXO victims, attend school. So far, a good number of provinces and cities in the whole country have established and developed the network of community collaborators who manage and assist people with disabilities and UXO victims right in their communities.
Dissemination of information on UXO awareness enhanced
Despite considerable efforts made in support of people with disabilities, including UXO and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims, Vietnam is still facing challenges in terms of social awareness, resources, and accessibility to special equipment and improvement of living conditions for people with disabilities. Most of the people with disabilities are living in rural areas in poor living conditions. They are also members of poor or near-poor households, going without jobs and having unstable income. The people’s awareness of UXO dangers is still limited. Many accidents happened due to the lack of knowledge. Colonel Nguyen Hanh Phuc, VNMAC Deputy Director General, emphasized, “The most important thing is to carry out dissemination of UXO information to enhance the prevention and avoidance of UXO accidents for the people and the community. At the same time, it is essential to promote education of UXO accident risks for the people, especially for children, and students in UXO-contaminated areas. With heightened UXO awareness, people and the community will know how to protect themselves.”
Sharing the same view, Major General Dao Tuan, Member of the Standing Committee and Head of the Science and Technology Committee of the Vietnam Association for Supporting UXO/Mine Action Efforts, said, “The active dissemination of information will help reduce millions of VND spent on creating livelihoods for UXO victims. Over the past time, the association and related organizations have conducted many dissemination activities on the prevention of UXO accidents for people and students, especially in key UXO-contaminated provinces. The association has issued 33,000 copies of a comic series for teenagers and children under the theme “Education on war-left UXO accident prevention,” featuring highly educational contents and format suitable with children. The series has been presented to students in severely UXO-contaminated localities by the association and its local chapters across the country. Though issued for the first time, the series has been reviewed with good feedback by the public, schools and students.
According to Head of Office of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Ba Hoan, with the current situation of UXO contamination, Vietnam has to spend hundreds of years and billions of dollars to completely detoxify its land, making it usable for resettlement and ensuring social security for people in UXO-contaminated areas. We are still facing many difficulties in implementing this work; therefore, there should be responsible participation of the international community and concerted efforts of the whole society in doing this work.