Emma Nelson
December 2016.

Has Vietnam recovered from the effects of the war?

1 answer

It probably hasn’t recovered fully. The effects are still very visible, from the physical shape of many members of the population: so many Vietnamese suffered stunting because of malnutrition during and after the war, you can find evidence of the war every single day on the streets. And in terms of the physical damage to the country: there are still many places which I know are deforested from the likes of Agent Orange.

Plus you've got the impact of losing up to two or three million people killed during the 10 years of the fighting. That will profoundly affect how families and Vietnamese society functions. So in that sense, no, it hasn't recovered.

On the other hand, the progress it's made in the last 30 years has been remarkable. Vietnam is now officially no longer a poor country. It's a middle-income country. Huge numbers of people have been lifted out of poverty and many more are on their way to what we call middle class status. So they haven't fully recovered, but they have done a tremendous impressive job of overcoming the legacy of it all.