Healing a wounded heart

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Since 1998, Marichia Simcik Arese’s Spiral Foundation has raised more than $1.6 million selling handmade items fashioned by disabled youth in Hue. The proceeds finance rehabilitation, job training and surgeries for Vietnamese suffering from congenital defects believed to be linked to the spraying of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Neither U.S. nor Vietnamese authorities accept that dioxin in Agent Orange is behind the high incidence of birth defects, which include cleft palate, spina bifida and heart defects, found in villages sprayed by Agent Orange. But Arese and her Vietnamese counterpart, Dr. Nguyen Viet Nhan, are not waiting. They are raising money to treat as many of the disabled youth of Vietnam as possible, regardless of the cause of the disability.

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Defoliants sprayed during the Vietnam War

The map shows defoliant-spraying missions by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The missions began in the summer of 1961 and ended in the spring of 1971.

The amount sprayed was not reported for all missions, so total gallons were higher than noted below. Points represent the spraying of specific places, like base camps. Lines represent spraying missions that ranged over a greater area.

Click the timeline to view missions as they took place in different years.

Sources: Herbicide Exposure Assessment-Vietnam database developed by Jeanne Stellman, professor emeritus at Columbia University's School of Public Health, and Columbia epidemiology professor Steven Stellman

This interactive package was created during a fellowship with the Vietnam Reporting Project and the Renaissance Journalism Center.

Video Report: Katy Newton Photography: Sean Connelley Website Design: Sean Connelley, Katy Newton Video / Photography Editor: Mary Cooney & Alan Hagman Special Thanks: Ben Welsh