Bewildered, destitute and helpless, hundreds of immigrants from Surinam are arriving daily on Holland, seeking a better life but finding near-chaos and squalor.
SV Building and traffic through streets, Amsterdam.
MCUS people through streets (2 shots).
CU aircraft taxiing in.
MV & CU immigrants walking from aircraft. (2 shots).
CU sign 'Passport Control' with immigrants passing through (2 shots).
CU immigrants being welcomed by relations.
SV exterior immigrant centre.
MV immigrants off coach and into building.
CU interior young boy PAN to immigrants registering in centre.
MVS immigrants being issued with winter clothing (3 shots).
MVS exterior immigrants and local residents in streets (3 shots).
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Background: Bewildered, destitute and helpless, hundreds of immigrants from Surinam are arriving daily on Holland, seeking a better life but finding near-chaos and squalor.
Harassed Dutch officials, overwhelmed by the tide of immigrants they did not anticipate, can do little more than try to find a makeshift roof and meals for the immigrants-arriving at the rate of three thousand a week.
Travelling in families mostly of Hindu, Chinese and Amerindian descent, the immigrants seem to be heading for Holland for two main reasons. They would like to leave relative poverty in Surinam, in the southern Caribbean, while they still have undisputed Dutch citizenship. They are not sure what their status will be when the country gets independence from Holland on 25 November this year. The second major reason for their leaving is fear that deep social rifts may escalate into serious conflicts after independence.
The huge influx into Holland of unskilled and mainly agricultural labourers and small tradesmen is posing an almost insuperable problem for big cities like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, the Hague and Utrecht.
Holland itself is suffering from an unemployment rate of over five percent and has already found that almost a quarter of its idle workforce of 250-thousand is made up of Surinamese immigrants.
The new immigrant flood is stretching the capacities of the country's social service organisations to breaking point.
There are two main political parties in Surinam and their differences are racial rather than ideological-between those of Indian and African descent - a potentially explosive situation.
The Dutch Minister responsible for Surinam has asked his Government to curb immigration and also encourage those already in Holland to return to Surinam.
The Dutch Government has set up advisory bureaus for Surinamese who might want to return home but so far, the response has been minimal and the flow of people remains one-way.
SYNOPSIS: This is Amsterdam, one of many Dutch cities suffering from a large influx of immigrants from Surinam. The immigrants are trying to get in before their country gets independence from Holland on November the twenty-fifth. They now hold Dutch passports but are uncertain of what their status would be after independence.
Travelling in families mostly of Indian, Chinese and Amerindian descent, the immigrants are arriving in various parts of Holland at about three thousand a week. They often have hardly more than a suitcase and a few cardboard boxes crammed with their possessions. They hope to settle in what they call their motherland before independence possibly bars future unrestricted entry.
Although some are met by relatives, the majority of them are incapable of fending for themselves. Few have ever seen Holland before, and many do not even speak Dutch. But they have deserted Surinam to seek a fabled prosperity-or at least a state-guaranteed minimum standard of living. At the same time, they are also fleeing from increasingly-bitter political rivalries and potentially explosive racial tensions between thee main population groups of African and Indian origins.
The Dutch Minister ??? for Surinam has appealed to his Government to curb immigration and also encourage those already in Holland to return to Surinam. The Government has set up advisory bureaux for those who may want to return but so far, the response has been minimal. In the meantime, both the Dutch and Surinamese governments continue to accuse each other of lack of consultation and cooperation on the issue.