Girl pictured with horrific burns after Vietnam War napalm strike undergoes laser treatment

The woman photographed as a young girl after having her clothes burned off in a napalm strike in Vietnam more than 40 years ago is undergoing laser treatment on her burns.

The specialist procedure will relieve Phan Thi Kim Phuc of the aches and pains she has suffered since 1972, as well as smoothing and softening the scar tissue that covers much of her body.

The photograph of nine-year-old Kim running towards the camera screaming became one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War.

Kim began the laser treatment last month in Miami and may need up to seven treatments over the next eight or nine months.

Each treatment usually costs $1,500 to $2,000 (£1,300), but Jill Waibel of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute offered to donate her services when Kim contacted her for a consultation.

Kim suffered horrific injuries in the 1972 strike. Credit: APTN

Kim said it will be like "heaven on earth" once the treatment is complete.

She said: "As a child, I loved to climb on the tree, like a monkey. After I got burned, I never climbed on the tree anymore and I never played the game like before with my friends. It's really difficult. I was really, really disabled.

"So many years I thought that I have no more scars, no more pain when I'm in heaven. But now - heaven on earth for me!"

The effects of her injuries have blighted Kim throughout her life. Her left arm doesn't extend as far as her right and a stiffness in her left hand has thwarted her desire to learn to play the piano.

She told Ms Waibel, who has been using lasers to treat burn scars for about a decade, that her pain is "10 out of 10".

Kim Phuc pictured in 2012. Credit: PA

"No operation, no medication, no doctor can help to heal my heart," she said. "The only one is a miracle, [that] God love me. I just wish one day I am free from pain."

The lasers used in the procedure were developed to smooth out wrinkles around people's eyes. The treatment creates microscopic holes in the skin, which allow topical, collagen-building medicines to be absorbed deep through the layers of tissue.

Kim now lives in Canada, where she defected to with her husband in the early 1990s. The couple have two sons, aged 21 and 18.