The Vietnamese-led forces of the Phnom Penh government in Kampuchea launched a fierce artillery and mortar offensive on Wednesday (10 October) against strongholds of the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, loyal to ousted leader Pol Pot.
GV Columns of kampuchea refugees, carrying possessions, walk along road near Thai Kampuchean border as military vehicles drive past (2 SHOTS)
GV Child leading column of refugees, including women carrying bundles on their heads
MV Refugee camp, with refugees resting and children playing (2 SHOTS)
MV Women cooking over open fire
MV Refugees resting in hammocks slug between trees
CU Mother lying on ground beside crying baby
MV Women washing baby with water from pot
CU Red Cross vehicle surrounded by refugees and Red Cross nurse takes notes (2 SHOTS)
CU Women carrying baby and Red Cross worker talks to her
CU Red Cross workers distributing medicines (2 SHOTS)
LV Ill refugee carried past Red Cross van on makeshift stretcher
CU Refugee on crutches makes his way to Red Cross van
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Background: The Vietnamese-led forces of the Phnom Penh government in Kampuchea launched a fierce artillery and mortar offensive on Wednesday (10 October) against strongholds of the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, loyal to ousted leader Pol Pot. As the fighting went on, refugees continued to flee kampuchea into neighbouring Thailand.
SYNOPSIS: The dry season offensive was expected even before the monsoons had finished lashing the area, and many refugees gathered near the border. The strength of the forces trying to break into the fortified Khmer Rouge positions along the Thai border was uncertain. The Thais have heavily reinforced their own side of the border and Prime Minister Kriangsak Chomanan continued to assert his country's intention to protect Thai territory.
No soldiers were seen among the refugees, who were mostly weary adults and children. The International Red Cross had planned to carry some six hundred tons of relief goods for the starving refugees into the area, before the fighting there stopped the project. However Thai officials say the ??? refugees on their side of the border.
The little food some of them carry is mostly dried corn packed in sausage sacks.
Many of the refugees are ill or under-nourished. Some of them, from lack of alternative, pulled out of the march to safety and stopped by the side of the road.
Members of the Thai Red Cross rushed to the jungle area and have mounted a big effort to aid the sick, the hungry and the weary.
Thai authorities reported that before the latest outbreak of fighting the numbers of displaced persons in Thailand had reached more than twelve thousand. About four thousand others had been resettled in other countries.
These figures do not include the more than one hundred and fifty thousand 'boat people' also in the country. The Thai authorities noted that nearly one hundred and seventy thousand kampuchea refugees crossed the border since the Vietnamese invasion last January. Of these more than one hundred thousand were sent back and almost thirty-four thousand returned on their own.
Thailand says it will wholeheartedly co-operate with relief efforts so long as the aid does not help to prolong the bloodshed in kampuchea.