The woman known globally as “Napalm Girl” has received her final round of burns treatment, fifty years after her village in Vietnam was struck by a napalm bomb.
Kim Phuc was just nine years old in 1972 when she was photographed running naked and terrified from her home in Trang Bang, her body covered in third degree burns after her clothes caught on fire.
The iconic photo by Vietnamese-American Nick Ut, which won a Pulitzer Prize, captured the horror of the moment and came to symbolise the awful consequences of war.
Ms Phuc, now 59 and who has since become a Canadian citizen, has never been able to escape the pain and the scars from the attack, but on Tuesday, the war survivor underwent a 12-hour medical procedure in Miami in another phase of her healing process.
She received what was reportedly her final course of laser therapy for her scars at the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute, according to local media.
Ms Phuc reunited with Mr Ut and recalled the distressing time they first met when the photographer took the image before speeding with her to a hospital for life-saving treatment.
“I heard the noise, bup-bup bup-bup, and then suddenly there was fire everywhere around me and I saw the fire all over my arm,” Ms Phuc said of the moment the bomb struck, killing her cousins, according to NBC 6 South Florida.
“He [Mr Ut] told me after he took my pic that he saw me burned so severely, he put down his camera and he rushed me to [the] nearest hospital,” she added.
Mr Ut remembered how terribly injured she was. “I saw her arm burning, her body burning so badly,” he said.
But after he managed to get her to a local hospital, the staff initially refused to treat her and instructed him to drive another two hours to a different location.
‘I have become a symbol of peace’
“I get upset, I hold my media pass, I say ‘I’m media, if she dies, my picture’s on the front page of every newspaper tomorrow,’ … they took her right away inside,” Mr Ut said.
Helping her on the decades-long road to recovery has been Dr Jill Waibel, who has been using laser therapy to heal and remove the scar tissue.
“It used to be that everyone with an injury like Kim’s would pass away and so we are blessed now that we can keep people alive but we really have to help them thrive and live,” Dr Waibel said.
Ms Phuc, who now lives in Toronto, founded the Kim Foundation International, which provides aid to child victims of war.
Writing in the New York Times earlier this month, on the 50th anniversary of the attack, she said she hated the photo for a long time as she struggled to heal emotionally and physically, but that she now appreciated its power.
“I’m proud that, in time, I have become a symbol of peace. It took me a long time to embrace that as a person. I can say, 50 years later, that I’m glad Nick captured that moment, even with all the difficulties that image created for me,” she wrote.
“That picture will always serve as a reminder of the unspeakable evil of which humanity is capable. Still, I believe that peace, love, hope and forgiveness will always be more powerful than any kind of weapon.”
The post Vietnam ‘Napalm girl’ receives final round of burns treatment fifty years after iconic photo appeared first on The Telegraph.Last Update: Thu, 30 Jun 22 11:20:59