The hundreds of thousands of Kampucheans starving and suffering from disease in camps along the ill-defined Thai-Kampuchean border have attracted widespread sympathy and aid from many countries.
The hundreds of thousands of Kampucheans starving and suffering from disease in camps along the ill-defined Thai-Kampuchean border have attracted widespread sympathy and aid from many countries. Inside Kampuchea itself, an estimated two million people are facing death from famine and disease. But leaders of the Vietnamese-backed Phnom Penh administration say they have 'a good chance' of coping with the famine in Kampuchea. The Vice President of the Phnom Penh government, Chea Sim, said recently that the ousted government of Pol Pot -- now fighting a guerrilla war against Phnom Penh - has systematically ruined the national economy.
SYNOPSIS: Prime agricultural land in Kampuchea is now producing only a fraction of its potential. Phnom Penh officials say it is impossible to restore production overnight because, they say, the population is s still unsettled and the country in ruins. Before 1970, Kampuchea was a net importer of rice, but now the country has to import the bulk of its needs.
Here, rice - a gift from the Soviet bloc countries -- is unloaded in the harbour at Phnom Penh. The Soviet bloc and Vietnam were among the first to offer large-scale aid to Kampuchea. The Phnom Penh administration says it welcomes all aid without political strings and will ensure that it reaches people threatened by famine and disease.
But Phnom Penh harbour can only take vessels up to four thousand tons and Kompong Som - Kampuchea's only deepwater port - ten thousand tons. International relief agencies say these facilities are inadequate for the amount of help needed for the more than two million starving people.