A senior government official in Thailand has said Kampuchean refugees are dying at a rate of twenty-five a day in one of the camps to be visited by the United States' President's wife, Mrs.
SV Thai soldier lifts Khmer amputee and helps him to back of queue
GV & ZOOM INTO SV Boys with leg injuries hobble along on crutches PAN ACROSS entire camp with many amputees moving on crutches towards food handout
SV & PAN Disabled refugees rushing to join queue as other stand on sidelines (2 shots)
SVs Disabled in food queues (2 shots)
LV Disabled refugee struggling down hillside ZOOM OUT TO food queues on hillside
SV & PAN Disabled refugee fetching water from pool
GV Disabled soldiers sharing food rations
REPORTER: "There is no room for pity here for the wounded, sick or disabled. General feeling seems to be that at least they have made the safety of the border still alive, and every family here has lost someone in the skirmishes with the Vietnamese or through Starvation and disease. This group of disabled refugees kept together on their flight from Kampuchea, and they stay together now, helping each other survive in the rat-race existence of the camps. Most, though not all of them, were Khmer Rouge soldiers. There are probably two hundred like them in the camp. When a queue forms in a hurry for a rice handout, they are too slow to make anything but the end of the line. So instead, they gather on the sidelines, hoping the rice sack won't be empty when they finally reach it. Land mines took the greatest toll of the legless. In Khmer Rouge Jungle hospitals, there were few doctors and even fewer drugs. There were no painkillers, even for major operations like amputations. Some Khmer Rouge said they were lucky if there was a salt water solution on hand to wash out their wounds. In the camps, they live like fringe dwellers, often pushed around in their bid to get food. What they do get, they share among themselves."
REPORTER: PETER MUNCKTON
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Background: A senior government official in Thailand has said Kampuchean refugees are dying at a rate of twenty-five a day in one of the camps to be visited by the United States' President's wife, Mrs. Rosalynn Carter. The camp, Sa Kaeo, is in south-east Thailand, and currently holds about thirty thousand refugees. Meanwhile, as well as starvation and disease, many Kampuchean refugees are having to face pain and possible infection from hastily-treated war wounds and amputations. ABC's Peter Munckton reports.