Saigon's population explosion since the escalation of the Vietnam war in 1965 has now created the most densely-populated major city in the world.
Saigon's population explosion since the escalation of the Vietnam war in 1965 has now created the most densely-populated major city in the world. In the last six years it has risen from 1.7 million to five million -- creating enormous social and health problems at the same time. City planning has had no time to keep up with the influx of countrysiders seeking refuge from the war, and the overcrowded City has now reached crisis point. This film looks at some of the problems.
SYNOPSIS: Although no official figures are available, Saigon is now thought to have the densest population of any major city in the world. In the six years since the escalation of the Vietnam conflict began in 1965 the South Vietnamese capital's population has itself risen form 1.7 million to something like 5 million. In the early 1960's when the Communist offensive began in earnest, the South Vietnamese government began to move ten of thousands of peasants from their traditional homes to fortified hamlets.
Many of them instead opted for the security and economic opportunity of the big cities. The Saigon city authorities, who were in no position to handle the influx, soon had a vast city of ramshackle huts and shanties on their hands. The burgeoning population in turn posed problems of public health, sanitation and labour as well as housing. With priority in public expenditure being devoted to military needs, the situation in Saigon has virtually got out of hand.
Although a public housing programmer has replaced some of the homes, the shanties continue to multiply. Something like one-third of the city is a shantytown. And with the indiscriminate disposal of human waste and garbage, much of the city has become a sea of filth and squalor.
The Saigon River and canals serve as sewage drains where children splash and swim happily obviously of the health hazards. No space is left unused. People even live in cemeteries. The increase in population has contributed to the soaring cost of living which has given Saigon another dubious distinction......of being the most expensive city in the world, according to a United Nations survey released this week. But the dangers to health remain the real crisis.