Thanh Son commune in Ha Nam Province is home to hundreds of people with disabilities that have arisen for reasons unknown.
A family stricken with disability
Between 1995 and 2010, 641 out of total 12,000 citizens in Thanh Son commune, Phu Ly district had become disabled, said Le Manh Cuong, a communal medical worker. He noted that among the patients, 192 people are undergoing rehabilitation treatment.
In recent years, the number of disabled people has increased, with more and more child patients. Many locals have become so worried about their living environment that they have decided to move to other places.
The majority of these patients are blind, mute and deaf. Others face mental problems such as cerebral palsy or facial deformation.
According to Cuong, many of the disabled in Thanh Son are poor and unprivileged.
Nguyen Thi Coi, who is a mother of three disabled children, said, “My burden doubled when my husband got sick two years ago. Sometimes, I feel like giving up, but my love for my children makes me press on.”
Many locals believe that polluted water and air have caused these illnesses. Others have blamed Agent Orange contamination which can be passed along from parent to child.
When asked about the reasons for the disabilities, Cuong said, “It’s difficult to identify the exact causes. In fact, more children are being born with disabilities, even though the mothers seem healthy during pregnancy.”
Nguyen Hong Hien, Chairman of the communal People’s Committee said no firm reasons for the disabilities have been defined.
“Some families have disabled children even though neither one of the parents took part in the American War. No scientific basis has been found to attribute the problem to the water supply. People in surrounding areas do not seem to be affected,” Hien added.
Born in the wrong place
Two sisters of the village
List of the disabled