The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is to assist the Laotian Government is resettling and rehabilitating hundreds of thousands of Laotians who were uprooting during the country's recent civil war.
AV bombed out area of Laos with water filled craters PAN to refugee village.
GV PAN Village.
SV & CU villagers (3 shots).
CU woman weaving.
GV & AV villagers burning fields for cultivation (3 shots).
GV & SV Aga Khan leaves helicopter.
SV & CU armed militia (2 shots).
GV Aga Khan tours village (2 shots).
SV Aga Khan meets villagers (2 shots).
SV soldiers (2 shots).
SV PAN & GV Aga Khan welcomed by villagers (2 shots).
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Background: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is to assist the Laotian Government is resettling and rehabilitating hundreds of thousands of Laotians who were uprooting during the country's recent civil war.
The offer of aid came from the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, during his fact finding tour or Laos.
Prince Sadruddin said the U.N. was prepared to contribute up to six million dollars U.S. (approx. 3 million pounds sterling) to help the rehabilitation programme, ,which is expected to cost Ii million dollars.
Around 700,000 people were displaced from their homes during the Laotian War and must be resettled now that peace has returned with the pro-communist Pathet Lao in control.
So far, some 117,000 refugees have been resettled in Laos.
The Pathet Lao and the U.N. have also agreed to work together on negotiations for the return of 35,000 Laotians from refugee camps in Thailand. They are mostly Meo hill tribesman who fought on the defeated rightist side during the war.
At a news conference, Prince Sadruddin said the question of Laotian refugees in Thailand had been misunderstood in some countries because it was complicated by the political side of the problem. He did not elaborate.
During his fact finding tour, Prince Sadruddin visited the Plaine des Jarres .. one of the worst affected war zones.
American bombing destroyed nearly every Pathet Lao village in the Plaine des Jarres area two years ago. Many villages cannot be re-built on their original sites because large bomb craters have created construction problems.
The UNHCR organised an airlift of some 32,000 people from Vientiane to the Plaine des Jarres, but many obstacles must still be overcome before the area can be fully restored.
Apart from the bomb craters, there is a grave food shortage, equipment is lacking and of the 60,000 head of cattle that once roamed the plains only a handful are left.
Unexploded bombs are still a danger and according to Pathet Lao officials there are occasional casualties.
But after years of suffering and violence there is now peace. People forced to abandon their homes are now coming back and the UNHCR is providing invaluable help .. in an area which was once very suspicious of the United Nations.