As world concern grows over the fate of Kampuchean refugees fleeing to Thailand, the authorities in Phnom Penh are facing grave problems within their own country as thousands are suffering from the famine.
As world concern grows over the fate of Kampuchean refugees fleeing to Thailand, the authorities in Phnom Penh are facing grave problems within their own country as thousands are suffering from the famine. Reports of supplies of food and medicine arriving in Kampuchea have brought a stream of people to the capital which is struggling to cope with the sudden influx of numbers.
SYNOPSIS: The Kampuchean capital of Phnom Penh is slowly coming to life again after becoming a ghost town. During the rule of the Pol Pot Government, city-dwellers were allegedly orders to leave for the country as part of a "re-education programme."
There are virtually no motor vehicles on the streets of the capital as the Khmer Rouge systematically destroyed anything modern. All that remains are a few ancient vehicles that have been pieced together. The lack of transport has greatly hampered the distribution of relief supplies.
Foreign aid is beginning to filter through and food has begun to appear on street markets, but the supply is meagre. children lucky enough to be cared for by orphanages seem to be in good health. But the reports of the arrival of supplies have brought thousands of people to Phnom Penh -- some thirty thousand are currently being held in camps outside the city limits, as the authorities struggle to cope with the influx.
The government itself is suffering from a crisis in manpower. Under Pol Pot, the country's middle class -- its teacher, bureaucrats, and professionals -- were massacred. Any accurate statistics can only be guessed at, but there is a grave shortage of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and teachers. When Western journalists first entered the city, the streets were strewn with debris and banned currency notes which had become worthless -- and the clean-up is still continuing. vietnamese military personnel have been recruited to help in the organisation of the town, but it is still a slow process.