Deliveries of foreign foodstuffs and soft goods are staring to ease the economic squeeze in Laos, but there are still critical shortages in many essential lines.
GV East German airliner taxiing.
GVs AND SVs Airliner on tarmac. (4 shots)
GV AND CU Goods being unloaded onto lorry. (2 shots)
GV Lorry through streets.
GV Lorry being unloaded. (3 shots)
GV AND CU Closed petrol station. (3 shots)
SV INT. Shoppers selecting meats from freezer and fish. (4 shots)
SV AND GV EXT. Market Place. (4 shots)
Initials VS 15.55 VS 16.10
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Background: Deliveries of foreign foodstuffs and soft goods are staring to ease the economic squeeze in Laos, but there are still critical shortages in many essential lines.
The squeeze started when Thailand closed its borders with Laos two months ago, following a skirmish on the Mekong River.
There were immediate shortages of petrol, milk, sugar, meat, rice and medicines.
The border was re-opened on 1 January, but Laotian officials claim goods are still being held up in Thailand. The Thai Government has denied the claims.
Despite a trickle of goods now crossing the border, the situation in the capital of Vientiane is still tight.
Petrol can only be bought on the black market, meat is very scarce. Some relief came with a delivery of 20 tons of rice from the Untied Nations and truck convoys of foodstuffs have arrived from North Vietnam.
There's also been a Soviet airlift of medicines, milk, sugar and other essentials from Hanoi, and an East German aircraft arrived on Friday (9 January) with 10 tons of commodities....starting two weeks of ferrying supplies from other Socialist countries.
Laotian Government officials are hoping that the incoming supplies will lower the high cost of food and soft goods in the Vientiane markets.
SYNOPSIS: An East German aircraft arrived in Vientiane on Friday with ten tons of foodstuffs and soft goods to help Laos through its current economic squeeze.
It was the first run for the airliner, which will spend the next two weeks ferrying food supplies from Socialist countries into the Laotian capital.
The squeeze in Laos started almost two months ago when Thailand closed its borders with the country after a skirmish on the Mekong River. There were immediate shortages of petrol, milk, sugar, meat, rice and medicines.
The border was reopened on New Year's Day, but Laotian officials claim goods are still being held up in Thailand....a claim the Thai Government denies.
The situation has been eased by deliveries of goods from North Vietnam and a Soviet airlift from Hanoi.
A gift of twenty tons of rice from the United Nations also provided relief until the rice crop was harvested.
Petrol can only be bought on the black market and Vientiane's petrol stations are closed. Some petroleum products have been brought in from North Vietnam, but these are used to maintain essential services.
Prices of meats and fish are still extremely high, the shops are now mostly patronised by diplomatic staff.
Local residents can't buy because all meat is sold for american dollars.
Vegetables are the staple diet, but even the cheapest products are sold at inflated prices.
Laotian Government officials are hoping that prices will drop as supplies reach the market places. However, even the most optimistic believe it will be sometime before the foreign aid makes its effect.