Petrol-rationing has been introduced in Phnom Penh as the communist blockade on the capital continues to tighten.
SV PAN Street TO motor-cyclists waiting for petrol at station
MV Motor-cyclists queuing up for petrol
MV PAN Attendant receiving money
CU Petrol-gauge on pump
CU Money being exchanged (2 shots)
MV Bike refuelled PAN petrol-gauge
MV Military police-man crossing road to rostrum
MV Policeman directing traffic
TV Traffic along road
Initials SGM/1650 SGM/1709
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Background: Petrol-rationing has been introduced in Phnom Penh as the communist blockade on the capital continues to tighten. Motorists have been limited to nine litres (two gallons) and motor-cyclists to 4.5 litres (one gallon) of petrol per purchase in an attempt to eke out the remaining supplies -- estimated to last only until 8th April.
There is also a shortage of diesel-oil, which is used in Phnom Penh's electricity generators. The state-owned power company has warned of massive cuts, and much of the city has already been blacked out for up to two days.
The shortages have been caused by the failure of a convoy a dozen freighters and fuel-tankers to break through communist rocket and mortar positions on the banks of the Mekong River -- the main supply route from the coast for all Phnom Penh's essential needs.
SYNOPSIS: Following the tightening of the communist blockade around Phnom Penh, the Khmer capital's motor-cyclists now find themselves faced by an acute fuel shortage. Much of their day is spent queuing for petrol.
When their turns comes for refuelling, they are restricted to less than one gallon. Motorists can buy up to two gallons. But the communist blockade has been so successful that, despite the strict rationing, all available fuel reserves are expected to be used by Sunday.
Other commodities have been hard hit by the general shortage, and the public have been warned to conserve supplies of food and even water. Electricity-generators are short of oil, and power-cuts are already widespread.
Phnom Penh's supplies have been erratic for weeks as communist forces, entrenched on the main Mekong River supply-route, continue to attack incoming convoys. The capital's traffic will continue to decrease unless an expected fuel convoy manages to break through the communist blockade.