The first plane-load of Vietnamese refugees who are to be settled in West Germany arrived on Saturday (2 December).
The first plane-load of Vietnamese refugees who are to be settled in West Germany arrived on Saturday (2 December). The State of Lower Saxony has promised to find homes for 1000 "boatpeople" who have spent almost one month on board the freighter "Hai Hong". The vessel has been anchored off the West Malaysian coast since the ninth of November, and the Malaysian authorities have refused to accommodate the 2,500 passengers. The Malaysian Government believes that those Vietnamese who pay for their passages out of Vietnam are not genuine refugees, as their voyage is alleged to be organised by an international syndicate with the approval of Vietnamese officials. The cost to the refugees is reported to be the equivalent of about 1,500 dollars (750 pounds) each.
SYNOPSIS: One hundred and sixty three refugees were flown into Hanover on Saturday (2 December), to start a new life in West Germany's Lower Saxony state. At the airport they were greeted by Lower Saxony's Head of State Mr Ernst Albrecht and the state's Interior Minister Mr Hasselmann. The refugees were given food and clothing before being sent to the Friedland refugee camp near Gottingen to be prepared for resettlement.
Lower Saxony does not want to create Vietnamese ghettos, so the refugees will be dispersed throughout the st ate. But families will not be broken up. The state has agreed to foot the bill for the whole operation. the costs of which are not fully known as yet. Private donations are flooding in, according to newspaper reports, and charities are making funds and hostel accommodation available for the refugees.
Other West German states are currently considering making their own provisions for taking refugees. There are about 50,000 more Vietnamese in camps along the Malaysian coast. The Malaysian authorities estimate that about 700 refugees manage to make the hazardous journey across the South China Sea each day.