President Nixon's special envoy, Dr. Henry Kissinger, and North Vietnam's Chief Negotiator, Le Duc Tho,?
President Nixon's special envoy, Dr. Henry Kissinger, and North Vietnam's Chief Negotiator, Le Duc Tho, have resumed negotiations in Paris on what is believed to be the last session of talks aimed at ending the Vietnam war.
The main victims of the wars in Indo-China are the civilian population. During the fighting, millions of civilians, the innocent and largely silent victims, have been killed, injured or rendered homeless. In South Vietnam alone, there have been an estimated 1,100,000 civilian casualties, including 325,000 dead, since 1965. It is reported that reliable figures on civilian losses are not available for Cambodia, but it has been estimated that 10,000 Laotian civilians have been killed and 20,000 injured, since the heavy air war over Laos started in 1969.
Of the survivors, vast numbers displaced by the terror and the bombing have moved to special camps, or have taken refuge int he dirty shanty towns of cardboard and corrugated tin that embrace the outskirts of all the major cities. A few find ways to earn a little money, although work is harder to find now that most of the American troops have moved out. Most are merely waiting for the chance to return home.
Nobody knows for certain how many refugees there are, but observers believed that about one third of the 27 million people who live in Indo-China have been driven from their homes at one stage or another.
With the possible end to the war in sight, these countries are faced with major reconstruction and resettlement programs for their displaced population. Before the fighting escalated into large-scale war in 1964, 80 per cent of South Vietnam's 17 1/2 million people lived on the land, either s farmers in hamlets and villages, or in small towns located in the heart of food producing dress. Since that time, millions have been relocated around the major cities, driven from their traditional lands by the fighting.
In Saigon, new low-cost housing areas are being constructed to cope with the influx of refugees who plan to stay and settle in the city. Foreign aid is being channelled towards the relief of the refugees, while other aid is fed towards developing the mechanisation of the farms. However, observers say the distribution and use of the aid is too slow.
The survival of the South Vietnamese people has been very much left in their own hands, end in the event of peace coming to their country, it is the people themselves who are likely to start moving back across the countryside to reoccupy once again the abandoned lands of their forefathers. Observers say, given the opportunity, the refugees will astound the world with their rate of recovery.
SYNOPSIS: The bombing and strafing of South Vietnamese villages could soon be over, as peace negotiations in Paris reportedly reach their last stage. But the scar of the long Indo-China war has been left on the civilian population Innocent and largely silent victims, civilians have been killed, injured or rendered homeless in the bitter conflict. In South Vietnam alone, there have been an estimated one million casualties.
Of the survivors, vast numbers have fled along the roads to special camps. Before the fighting intensity increased in 1964, eighty per cent of the population lived on the land, either as farmers, or in small towns located in agricultural districts.
Their crops and homes destroyed by the fighting, Vietnamese formers are not easily persuaded to leave their land, because their ancestors are often buried in the virginity. As soon as the fighting is over and the troops disappear, the farmers return to reconstruct the homes the fighting destroyed. They cling grimly to whatever they have. Many return to their traditional lands as soon as possible, sometimes in dangerous haste. In rebuilding their homes, the farmers use whatever material is available.
Many of the refugees have gone to live in the filthy shantytowns of cardboard and corrugated tin, that embrace the outskirts of all the major cities. A few find ways to earn a little money, but most are merely waiting for the chance to go home. United States Senator Edward Kennedy's Judiciary Sub-committee on Refugees, which investigated the problem since 1965, reported that the total number of South Vietnamese refugees reached six million.
To cope with the refugee housing shortage in the large cities of South Vietnam, the Government embarked on a low cost housing programme. Thousands of refugees in search of work, were provided with jobs on the numerous construction sites.
The programme proved to be a success, providing thousands of homes, but observers report that the authorities have now been presented with the problem of how to allocate the new homes.
Though many of the high-rise housing units have been ready for occupation for several months, the authorities have taken few steps to move homeless refugees into the new units. In the meantime they are standing empty. Elsewhere the building of more home units continues.
Observers believe the authorities will soon solve their housing distribution problems. Meanwhile, in the event of peace coming to their country, observers say that, given a chance, the people of South Vietnam will astound the world with their rate of recovery.