In less than twenty years, Da Nang, South Vietnam, has grown from a town of 35,000 people to a city of half a million.
In less than twenty years, Da Nang, South Vietnam, has grown from a town of 35,000 people to a city of half a million. The boom came with the war and the arrival of American and Vietnamese troops. The army employed large numbers of civilians and their presence created jobs for many more. Now that the troops are pulling out the jobs are disappearing and long queues form every day outside the employment offices.
Most of the unemployed are unskilled workers, especially labourers and domestic servants, who came from the countryside to the city. The American Army, who brought the boom to the city, say that the present decline in the jobs with the army is being offset by an increase in jobs in other fields, especially driving earth-moving equipment and heavy vehicles. This as formerly done almost exclusively by servicemen. Even women have no trouble finding jobs as heavy vehicle drivers, provided they can drive the vehicle. The American Army has instituted a vocational training programme in Ga Nang and this year about 2,000 civilians will be trained for new jobs.
Ho Chi Moy is a twenty-nine-year-old widow whose husband, a Vietnamese army sergeant, was killed in the war. She has four children and also looks after her mother. She is now training to drive a fork-life vehicle. When she's completed her training she'll earn about 40 cents an hour.
The Saigon Government would prefer people who've left their farms in the country to return to them and get them producing food again. But life in the rice fields has little attraction for the new city dwellers.