Thousands of refugees have been pouring down from the mountain villages of northern Laos as fighting continues between North Vietnamese troops and a Laotian guerrilla army.
AIR VIEW Jungle & hills from helicopter (3 shots)
MV Refugees rush towards landed helicopter
MV Refugees watch
LV PAN Refugees to helicopter
LV PAN Refugees tents & shelters PAN ROUND mountainside.
MV Women get water from pipe with children in b/g.
MCU Woman & two children walk across camp
MCU Men & women squat outside shelter
CU Woman feeds baby
MV Two women and water buffalo.
MV PAN FROM Shelters to ponies
MCU Women & children outside shelter
MCU Man and child
MV Women outside shelter
MV Refugees in tent
MLV Refugees building shelters.
Initials BB/2225 JB/BHH/BB/2300
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Thousands of refugees have been pouring down from the mountain villages of northern Laos as fighting continues between North Vietnamese troops and a Laotian guerrilla army. The refugees are from the Meo tribes. The hills north of Vientiane are one of the last places left for them to live. They are a mountain people and won't live in the lowlands.
But now, with North Vietnamese troops exerting heavy pressure on the positions of Laotian government forces and on the major base of Long Chen--only a few miles east of where this film was shot--the Meo are leaving their villages. Many have been conscripted into the American-backed guerrilla army of General Vang Pao. Others have been conscripted into the Communist Pathet Lao forces.
Already more than 2,400 refugees have come down from the villages. Another 5,000 are expected in the next few days.
Meanwhile, latest reports from Vientiane say that North Vietnamese forces have captured four positions held by Laotian Government forces and are putting heavy pressure on General Vang Pao's headquarters at Long Chen.