Hong Trung 2011
Consequences of Agent Orange
Hong Trung is one of the many areas in Vietnam that still bears glaring evidence of the devastation of the use of Agent Orange in the U.S. ‘s chemical warfare program – Operation Ranch Hand. Agent Orange, a chemical containing equal parts of two herbicides and with traces of the most toxic type of dioxin, was sprayed aerially by the U.S. over Vietnam with the purpose of defoliating rural and forested land and depriving guerrillas of food and concealment. Over 20 million U.S. gallons of these so-called “rainbow herbicides” were sprayed using helicopters and low-flying aircrafts fitted with sprayers.
The operation has had enduring consequences as thousands of square kilometres of agricultural land, crops, upland and mangrove forests were permanently destroyed. This has led to widespread famine with hundreds of thousands of people left starved or malnourished. This is in addition to the fact that the spraying of Agent Orange has left generations of people in poor health, battling birth defects, serious illnesses, deformity and disability.
It is against this backdrop that the Trust launched its projects in the Hong Trung commune within the A Luoi district.
The A Luoi District
A Luoi is a mountainous district that is located on the western side of Thua Thien Hue province. The population is settled in A Luoi and A So valley which is crossed by the Ho Chi Minh trail.
The district had been sprayed with the Agent Orange during the Vietnam war and the impact has been, by no means, small. Forests were permanently destroyed and families have the burden of having handicapped children as a result Agent Orange. And for many in this district, life continues to get and harder and harder.
36% of the population of the whole district are categorised as poor with some of the hardest areas being Hong Kim and Hong Quang.
Empowering Hong Trung with the Orange Cows program
The Orange Cows program in Hong Trung is aimed at helping selected families become self-sufficient by providing them with cattle to breed as well as the necessary animal husbandry skills. The goal is to secure some sort of steady stream of income for these families so that they are better positioned to care for family members suffering from disabilities caused by Agent Orange.
In December 2011, the Trust provided the people of Hong Trung with over 35 cows under the Orange Cows program. As with other districts, the recipient families were selected by consulting with the local people’s committee and council. These families also had to sign an agreement that they would another selected family the second calf from the received cow.
The Trust, in 2013, further helped the recipient families with proper stalls for the cows and also ensured that the cows were receiving the right forages.