In the Philippines, government officials, Western ambassadors, and the representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) are discussing the fate of about two thousand Vietnamese refugees aboard the rickety freighter Tung An.
GV Manila Bay with freighter Tung An and two naval vessels.
SV Tung An with nameplate and Philippines flag.
TV Deck of Tung An PAN TO tents on deck housing refugees. (3 SHOTS)
GV Refugees in makeshift tents.
SV Refugees receiving their water rations.
SV ???gees having showers and ???hing hair. (2 SHOTS)
France, which had already said it would take eighty-six refugees, has announced it will take an additional eighty people. Israel has agreed to take 102.
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Background: In the Philippines, government officials, Western ambassadors, and the representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) are discussing the fate of about two thousand Vietnamese refugees aboard the rickety freighter Tung An. The vessel has been in Manila Bay for six weeks and, so far, only three hundred and eighty nine of its passengers have been guarantees resettlement.
SYNOPSIS: The Philippines Foreign Ministry announced last Thursday (8 February) that the Tung An would be ordered to leave Manila for Hong Kong. A Health Ministry statement said the freighter had become a health hazard. But a meeting scheduled for Monday (12 February) apparently signalled a temporary reprieve for the refugees stranded aboard the freighter.
Ambassadors from nineteen countries have been urged to help resettle the refugees. But the majority of the Vietnamese on board have still not found permanent homes.
In Hong Kong, a government spokesman said that the Philippines authorities would be contravene in international regulations if they forced the Tung An to set sail again because the vessel is deregistered. Meanwhile, the Philippines government continues to supply the refugees with essential food, medicine and water to try and stave off threats of disease. Recently, United Nation High Commissioner, Poul Hartling, cabled President Ferdinand Marcos asking for "a compassionate decision" on the fate of the Vietnamese.
Small groups of refugees have gained places in West Germany, the U.S. Belgium, Singapore and New Zealand. But the UN says that some government are failing to keep their promises.