As refugees continue to flee Vietnam's Communist Government, the first of a new wave of official immigrants from Indo-China have been airlifted to Australia.
As refugees continue to flee Vietnam's Communist Government, the first of a new wave of official immigrants from Indo-China have been airlifted to Australia. Over the next few weeks, Australia will accept 1,050 men, women and children, who will be flown from refugee camps in various parts of southern Asia. The first batch flew from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on Friday (23 December).
SYNOPSIS: For these refugees, Christmas 1977 will mean a new home. They are awaiting transport to Australia aboard a chartered aircraft. However others are not as fortunate. More than 1,500 refugees in Malaysia still have not been accepted for resettlement by other nations. Their homeland, Vietnam has been ruled by the Communists since the end of the war in 1975.
But in the final hours before departure there was the rough and ready comfort of a transit station near Kuala Lumpur, with everyone getting a good hot meal.
The airlift comes after the recent decision by Australia's Immigration Minister Michael Mackellar, who sent officials to visit the refugee comps in South-East Asia.
This time only 128 people were to fly out, but more are expected to follow after Christmas. Since the end of the war, Australia has accepted some 4,500 refugees.
These refugees are going to a new home with official approval, but many others have arrived in Australia by more unorthodox methods. Sailing flimsy boats across hundreds of miles of open sea; fleeting a regime that has attracted criticism for its alleged suppression of human rights. Despite many nations accepting refugees, more than 90,000 are still crowding camps in South-east Asia. Reuters say more are leaving Vietnam every month.