Following the United Nations Conference on the South East Asian refugee problem -- which closed in Geneva on Saturday (21 July) -- hopes have risen throughout the region that at least a temporary end may be in sight to the plight of the Vietnamese boat people.
GV: Hong Kong harbour PAN TO Vietnamese refugee boat and dock side.
SV: two policeman walking away form holding area.
CU AND SV: refugees sitting under make-shift tent. (3 shots)
SV AND GV: refugees in warehouse. (2 shots)
SV: refugees being given noodles, queuing and going away. (3 shots)
SV AND GV: rice being distributed to waiting refugees. (2 shots)
GV: people queuing outside warehouse. (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: Singapore refugee holding centre.
SV AND CU INTERIOR: refugees resting. (3 shots)
SV: Refugee family eating (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: Ship 'Lysekil' standing on dockside
GV: workmen on ship
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Background: Following the United Nations Conference on the South East Asian refugee problem -- which closed in Geneva on Saturday (21 July) -- hopes have risen throughout the region that at least a temporary end may be in sight to the plight of the Vietnamese boat people. The Vietnamese government has agreed to a planned programme of refugee departures and has promised to set up its own 'holding centres'. Meanwhile in Hong Kong and Singapore the refugees influx countries.
SYNOPSIS: Hong Kong has taken over sixty thousand refugees and more keep arriving. With an area of only four-hundred square miles the colony is finding it hard to cope. At times over eleven thousand refugees have crammed these docks and many more lie offshore, waiting for landing permission.
Most of the refugees come from the ethnic Chinese community of Vietnam. At present there are over eight thousand of them command along the Hong Kong waterfront, waiting to undergo interviews, be issued with identity cards and eventually to be sent to start new live in places as far apart as Canada and Sweden.
Dockyard officials can only deal with five-hundred immigrants a day for those waiting to be processed, life centres around the two meals a day supplied by local officials. All the food is donated free of charge by the Hong Kong government.
Singapore has the same problem. Its refugee holding camps and transit centres are only just coping. Here -- as in Hong Kong -- facilities are minimal and the refugees survive as best they can. In these conditions disease is an ever-present threat. But these refugees are lucky for the time being they are on dry land and will soon be flying off to new homes.
Hope for the Vietnamese still at sea rests to a certain extent on vessels like this. She's the 'Lysekil', a Norwegian ship founded by a refugee aid organisation. She is being refitted before setting out into the South China Sea to look for more boat people.