When the Vietnam war was declared over in 1975, the US withdrew its last troops, North and South reunited and the conflict was considered closed, but today, three generations later, its effects are still being felt.
Nguyen Thi Ly, a vivacious nine-year-old schoolgirl, is the granddaughter of a Vietnamese soldier who fought in one of the densely foliated areas sprayed with Agent Orange by US forces during the war.
Between 1962 and 1971, the US dumped 20m gallons of the herbicide on Vietnam, eastern Laos and Cambodia to deprive guerrillas of cover and force peasants to flee the Viet Cong-controlled jungle.
A mixture of two herbicides, Agent Orange contains TCDD, which has been described as ‘perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesised by man’. A known human carcinogen, it has been linked to adverse health effects including leukaemia, Hodgkin’s disease and crippling birth defects.
More than 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed, killing or maiming more than 400,000 and causing 500,000 children to be born disfigured.
Ly, who lives with her family in Da Nang and relies on ongoing assistance from aid groups, is one. Her enlarged head, concave chest and protruding eyes betray the fact Da Nang was one of the main hubs from which the deadly poison was distributed during the war.
Ed Kashi, from Paris-based agency VII, captured this haunting image of Ly while on assignment with Unicef and won Photo of the Year. “I strongly believe in the power of photography and of still images,” says the photographer. “To look at them can change the attitude of humans.”