Thailand's Prime Minister, Kriangsak Chomanan, has cut short his tour of South East Asia because of the tense situation along his country's border with Kampuchea--formerly Cambodia.
Thailand's Prime Minister, Kriangsak Chomanan, has cut short his tour of South East Asia because of the tense situation along his country's border with Kampuchea--formerly Cambodia. General Kriangsak was in Kuala Lumpur when he cancelled plans to visit Indonesia and the Philippines. He flew back to Bangkok on Thursday (25 October). Thousands of Kampucheans have taken refuge along the Thai border. They are trying to escape the fighting between Vietnamese-led forces of the Phnom Penh administration and guerrillas loyal to the ousted leader, Pail Pot.
SYNOPSIS: Many of the refugees here--not far from the border town of Aranyaprathet--are Khmer Rouge and they support the previous Pail Pot regime. Now the Thai government has decided to evacuate them from the sensitive border area to safer camps in the interior. Khmer Rouge guerrillas and their families used to stay together, but now --because of the move--the able-bodied men will have to carry on the fight alone.
These people are being transported from the Klongwah refugee camp to Bankhaeng, further from the border. Thai soldiers supervise the mass evacuation. Many of the refugees are women, children, the old and the sick.
Here, at Bankhaeng, the refugees will have to settle down to a new life once again. There are now thought to be up to two hundred thousand Kampuchean refugees in Thailand. The refugee camps are run by the Thai Army, which is also responsible for distributing food supplied by the World Food Programme, and other relief organisations.
There have been accusations that some Thai soldiers pilfer food supplies. But most relief organisations have high praise for the care and concern the army displays in its supervision of the refugees. Soldiers have been quick to fell trees, dig water holes and create other amenities in the refugee camps. Most camps in this part of Thailand have adequate supplied of food, rice, dried fish and oil--and Bankhaeng is no exception Medicines are also widely available--but doctors and nurses are few.