The last big convoy of 5,500 South Vietnamese refugees sailed down the Mekong River from Phnom Penh on Thursday (August 13), bringing to 85,000 the number ferried down-river from Cambodia to Vietnam.
LV Officials walk past guard of honour
LV Refugees on landing crafts (3 shots)
CU People watching
SV & CU Officials
SV Gifts being handed to refugees (2 shots)
SV Refugees escorted by officials
LV Refugees aboard and doors closed on landing craft
LV People on quay waving to refugees aboard (2 shots)
LV Ships leaving
LV Refuse being burned
LV Workers demolish shelters (2 shots)
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Background: The last big convoy of 5,500 South Vietnamese refugees sailed down the Mekong River from Phnom Penh on Thursday (August 13), bringing to 85,000 the number ferried down-river from Cambodia to Vietnam.
The refugees were crammed aboard three South Vietnamese navy landing-craft, and officials gave them South Vietnamese and Cambodian flags for the occasion.
There are still some Vietnamese waiting in Cambodia for re-patriation, but there is not the urgency now which existed four months ago. Altogether more then 200 thousand Vietnamese have been re-patriated since the Cambodian war began, and the historic enmity between the Cambodians and Vietnamese boiled over. They left by air, road transport and on foot as well as by water.
The old hatred was not evident during the leave-taking ceremony, however, with representatives of both Governments handing out gifts to a selected group of refugees. Those who got no gifts, got a ration of bread.
At Vung Tau, the destination of the landing-craft, the refugees had no alternative but to spread out into the countryside, looking for a place to live.
They had left behind refugee camps in Phnom Penh, mainly run by the Catholic Church, which were already being torn down by Government workers. Makeshift shelters with no sanitation, they had become a dangerous health hazard to the city.