South Vietnamese troops in Cambodia yesterday (June 25) launched a large_scale operation to aid vietnamese residents return home.
South Vietnamese troops in Cambodia yesterday (June 25) launched a large_scale operation to aid vietnamese residents return home. A south vietnamese spokesman said it was not known how many of his fellow countrymen remained to be evacuated from Cambodia, but it is believed the number runs into hundreds of thousands.
Before the deposing of Prince Sihanouk there were more than 500,000 Vietnamese living in Cambodia. Thousands of them were allegedly massacred following the Prince's overthrow, and before the South Vietnamese Government could begin to repatriate them.
However, since then an estimated 100,000 have been transported to South Vietnam--but many thousands more are crowded into make-shift refugee camps set-up in and around Phnom Penh.
The conditions under which they are forced to live are said to be of a low order, but the spirit of survival os strong among the young.
For the old, however, the camps have become places in which to die.
Most of the camps are located by Catholic Churches or Catholic Church-owned property--the majority of Vietnamese in Cambodia are Catholic.
One noticeable fact about the camps is that the majority of residents are women, children and old people.
Existing in what are described as "appalling conditions", and with insufficient food, the refugees live in constant hope that they will be next to board a Vietnamese ship and head for their new home.
For some, yesterday (June 25) was the day their hopes were realised. With as many belongings as they could carry and willingly helped by South Vietnamese sailors, they boarded a ship to head for a land many of them have never before seen.