INTRODUCTION: The political violence which has swept across El Salvador has driven about half a million people from their homes.
GV PAN Trucks outside Suchitoto camp.
SV Soldiers with guns guarding outside gate.
SV PAN & GV Children at gate. (2 SHOTS)
SV Refugees inside compound.
CU Child eating and other children looking on. (2 SHOTS)
GV Refugees with their belongings.
SCU Children on trucks.
GV Refugees loading their belongings on trucks.
SV Refugees sitting on truck.
GV PAN Army jeep moves off. Refugee trucks loaded.
GV PAN Refugee camp in Santa Tecla.
GV Refugees in Tecla Camp. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The political violence which has swept across El Salvador has driven about half a million people from their homes. It's estimated that about 200,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. The rest have been staying in overcrowded refugee camps in El Salvador. Last week (19 August) 100 refugees were moved by government troops from an internment camp, where they had been living in what were described as appealing conditions, to another refugee camp.
SYNOPSIS: The refugees had been taken to the Suchitoto penitentiary last month for security reasons. The armed forces believed that many of them were co-operating with the guerrillas.
Almost anyone can come under suspicion of helping the guerrillas whose activity in Suchitoto province has increased in the last month. More than 22,000 people were believed to have died since the beginning of last year in this undeclared civil war between the government and the guerrillas.
The plight of the refugees in many of the camps is said to be getting worse. Catholic priests who run many of them say that malnutrition is widespread. They have no shelter and no medicine.
The conditions at the Suchitoto Penitentiary had become badly overcrowded. As these refugees had been cleared of suspicion the government decided to move them to a better camp in Santa Tecla, 12 kilometres (7 miles) from the capital, San Salvador. It took two days to transfer all of them in army vehicles.
These refugees could look forward to improved living conditions. But the overall problem is getting worse. The United Nations has launched an appeal for 10 million dollars to help those who have tried to find safety in neighbouring countries.
In Honduras alone the United Nations High Commission for Refugees is helping 35,000 Salvadoreans who have no other means of support.
The refugee problem is increasing rapidly as the fighting grows worse. The guerrillas have launched their biggest attack since January so the need for aid for the homeless in El Salvador and its neighbours will become even more desperate.