The Kampuchean capital of Phnom Penh is slowly coming to life again after allegedly becoming a ghost town during the life of the government of Pol Pot.
The Kampuchean capital of Phnom Penh is slowly coming to life again after allegedly becoming a ghost town during the life of the government of Pol Pot. Shortly after Vietnamese troops moved into the capital and helped s??? up the present government of Heng Samrin, film from the capital showed a completely deserted city, with shops, schools and businesses abandoned. According to some reports the government of Pol Pot ordered city dwellers into the country side ??? a part of a "re-education programme". Once a thriving metropolis of hundreds of thousands, Phnom Penh became a city of quiet deserted streets. ???ut slowly people are making their way back, and the city is being reborn.
SYNOPSIS: The long trek home for thousands of Kampucheans continues, as they make their way back to the villages they were allegedly forced to leave during the time of the ousted Pol Pot government. Food is short and the people depend on hand-outs from the government until crops can be planted and the first harvest completed. But the daily rations are small--two tins of rice per adult and one for children.
This has been the scene on Phnom Penh streets for months. Once a neighbourhood teeming with families, the streets are just now beginning to come alive. According to Mr. Brian Walker the director-general of Oxfam--the population of kampuchea has been reduced by about fifty percent since the takeover of the Khmer Rouge in 1975. For many the horror of the last few months continues--but some have found their way home to Phnom Penh and life is getting to normal.
Phnom Penh Primary School was reopened in June of this year with just over a thousand children. But the number has doubled in the last few months.
A new market has been established replacing the old central market. it is currently operating on a barter system because the Heng Samrin government has not issued new currency. About eighty percent of the goods come from Vietnam, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe--the countries which are currently backing the new government. But few Kampuchean can participate in the exchange since rice is the current bartering unit--and most people don't have enough to feed themselves and their families.
Prices in Phnom Penh are steep -- two metres of cloth is worth twenty-seven kilograms of rice. And one kilogram of meat is worth ten kilograms of rice.
The market features other signs of a return to normal life--for some privileged children, cooling, ices.
The tailoring business is thriving again too thirty companies are reported to have started business again.