In the Philippines, conditions aboard the freighter Tung An anchored off the shore of Manila were said to be worsening on Friday, (29 December) as more than two thousand Vietnamese refugees waited for permission to go ashore.
In the Philippines, conditions aboard the freighter Tung An anchored off the shore of Manila were said to be worsening on Friday, (29 December) as more than two thousand Vietnamese refugees waited for permission to go ashore. The Philippines Foreign Ministry has refused to allow the refugees to land and instead met with ambassadors of various governments in the hope of finding homes for them. The ship had already been turned away from the Sultanate of Brunei.
SYNOPSIS: Refugees on the Panamanian-registered Tung An, owned by Hong Kong-based company, told a United Nations representative on Thursday (28 December) that about two hundred people drowned in a scramble to get aboard last week in the South China sea.
The ship is being guarded by the philippines Coast Guard. Food and medical supplies are being delivered by Filipino agencies, instructed by the government to help the refugees until they can be sent elsewhere.
The ship's rotting cargo of cattle food and rice posed new health hazards on Friday. A strong smell wafted from the vessel across Manila Bay. A United Nations representative said conditions aboard the vessel were appalling. Especially serious, he said, because the freighter is just not built to carry its cargo and the two thousand, three hundred people ...aboard. A refugee centre in the Philippines is reported to be already over-crowded.
The Filipino Foreign Minister, Carlos Romulo, said his government has already taken care of may Vietnamese refugees. Urgent medical needs will be met, but afterwards the Tung An refugees will be returned to the ship. Sixty percent of the people aboard the vessel are said to be ethnic Chinese. A United Nations representative has appealed to all Asian countries to let the "boat people" land.