The first group of 15,000 Indo-Chinese refugees who have recently been given permission to settle in the United States arrived there on Tuesday (20 September) on an aircraft from Thailand.
The first group of 15,000 Indo-Chinese refugees who have recently been given permission to settle in the United States arrived there on Tuesday (20 September) on an aircraft from Thailand. Most of the group of 133, which landed in San Francisco in California, were Vietnamese -- but some came from Cambodia and Laos as well.
SYNOPSIS: About half of the 15,000 are so-called 'boat cases', arriving in Thailand by sea after fleeing their original homes. They're being admitted to the United States under a new programme authorised by President Jimmy Carter's government to relieve conditions in Thailand, where 80,000 refugees are crowded into camps. The latest group will join 150,000 other already in America.
The last stage in the flight to the freedom of their choice -- waiting to board an aircraft in Bangkok, the Thai capital. First stop -- San Francisco.
The exodus from Indo-China, the vast majority from Vietnam, followed the collapse of the South Vietnamese government in April two years ago. The flood is still flowing, despite the risk of long jail sentences if caught trying to escape the new communist regimes. In addition, an unknown number have already died trying to flee in overcrowded, unseaworthy boats.
San Francisco -- and the end of a long journey for just a few of the many in flight from the old Indo-Chinese nations now under communist rule. The United States is among the foremost of the nations offering refuge. Apart from landing-points like Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia, countries accepting them as permanent settlers include Australia, Canada, Austria and France. Bit there is a looming danger -- refugee quotas are limited, and there are more arriving than officially welcome.