Phan Thi Kim Phuc, popularly called “napalm girl”, is a Vietnamese-origin Canadian, who has been honoured with the German Peace Prize, Dresden prize. She received €10,000 for her remarkable contributions in supporting UNESCO and for speaking out against violence
Kim Phuc is commonly known as the “napalm girl”, owing to her depiction in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the Vietnam War taken in 1972. As a nine-year-old, Kim Phuc was captured running on the street naked and crying with severe burns on her body, when the South Vietnamese forces dropped the napalm bombs on her village in North Vietnam. The war survivor has now been honoured by Germany for her own efforts to help children wounded in war and for her support to UNESCO. She received the German Dresden Prize and €10,000 for speaking up against violence and hatred.
The photograph that gave Kim Phuc her popular name was taken by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, who rushed the wounded child to the nearest hospital in 1972. In a later interview, Nick Ut said, “I cried when I saw her running… If I don’t help her and if something happened and she died I think I’d kill myself after that.”
Kim Phuc, who sustained third-degree burns on 30% of her body, explained her experience in a later interview. She said, “I had no idea where I was or what happened to me”. She added, “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.” In 1992, Kim Phuc seeked political asylum in Canada and in the late 1990s, she was granted Canadian citizenship.
The German Peace Prize has previously been won by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and American civil rights activist Tommie Smith.