‘Napalm girl’ Kim Phuc receives German prize for peace work
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‘Napalm girl’ Kim Phuc receives German prize for peace work

Kim Phuc, known as the “napalm girl” after a well-known photo of her from the Vietnam war, has received an award in Germany for her work for peace.

Organisers of the Dresden prize say the 55-year-old, who lives in Canada, is being honoured for her support of Unesco and children wounded in war, and for speaking out against violence and hatred. She received €10,000 (£8,800).

The prize-winning image of Phuc and her relatives. Photograph: Nick Ut/AP

Previous recipients include the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the American civil rights activist Tommie Smith.

Phuc was nine when a South Vietnamese plane dropped napalm bombs on her village in 1972, believing it harboured North Vietnamese troops.

The scene of Phuc running down a road in tears, naked and severely burned was captured by the Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, who won a Pulitzer prize for the image in 1973.

Ut, then 21, drove Phuc to hospital where he demanded doctors treat her. “I cried when I saw her running,” said Ut in 2012. “If I don’t help her and if something happened and she died I think I’d kill myself after that.”

Days after the image shocked the world, another journalist found out Phuc had survived.

Christopher Wain, a British television journalist, fought to have her transferred to a US-run unit equipped to deal with her severe injuries.

“I had no idea where I was or what happened to me,” Phuc said. “I woke up and I was in the hospital with so much pain, and then the nurses were around me. I woke up with a terrible fear.”

Phuc sustained third-degree burns on 30% of her body. She began scar treatment in 2015.

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