As fighting in South Vietnam intensifies, 19 months after the Paris agreement was supposed to have ended the warfare, the country is facing another insidious and universal threat -- crippling inflation.
SV & CU South Vietnamese army men out of village with dead and wounded (3 shots)
SV & LV Army patrol through village in Mekong Delta (2 shots)
CU Villagers watch as patrol moves through village (3 shots)
SV & CU Army units tend vegetable garden in Mekong Delta (3 shots)
SV & CU Soldier feeds cultivated fish (2 shots)
SV & CU PAN Rice field in paddy field in delta (2 shots)
CU & SV Rice sold in Saigon city market (3 shots)
CU Money changing hands
SV & CU Prices on varying grades of rice (5 shots)
CU Petrol pump registers as bus has tank filled (2 shots)
LV Comparatively light traffic along country road (2 shots)
LV Light traffic in Saigon
Initials BB/2008 RS/TK/BB/1955
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Background: As fighting in South Vietnam intensifies, 19 months after the Paris agreement was supposed to have ended the warfare, the country is facing another insidious and universal threat -- crippling inflation.
South Vietnam had an Inflation rate of 70 per cent last year. Rice, the staple food throughout Asia, has gone up 85 per cent since January. Foodstuffs such as pork, chicken, eggs and condensed milk have risen between 100- 120 per cent.
Worst affected are the million men in the army which is such a burden to the South Vietnamese economy.
Despite a 20 per cent salary increase last March, a first class private receives only 22 dollars (GBP 9 sterling) a month and half of that goes to buy two meals a day from army canteens. The balance usually has to support a family and all other expenses.
In the provinces it he??? meant militia posts being under strength or ???manned much of the time while soldiers grow vegetables or raise chickens and pigs to bring in a few pastries.
Last week the piaster was devalued from 630 to 640 for one U.S. dollar. It was the seventh devaluation this year and the second in two weeks.
The economic disaster has hit the capital Saigon worst of all, with thousands of children not going to school, men selling their Honda's and the rate of robbery so high that middle class women leave jewellery and handbags behind before going to the market.
Leading Vietnamese economists are now stressing that South Vietnam must eliminate all non-essential goods, and allow only a minimum of imports. Without an enforced austerity programme they say there could be panic among the population, leading to dioestrous disorders.