Saigon is typical of most cities and large towns in South Vietnam which are suffering the effects of rapid growth in the population as the refugees of the war crowd in.
GV Traffic along road and Pan to roadside restaurant
SV Woman serving drinks
SV Girl gives change from behind bar
SV People eating
SV & CU Woman stirring pot of rice (2 shots)
GTV & SV Crowded streets and women and children on motorbikes and scooters (4 shots)
GTV Pan Saigon buildings
GTV & GV crowded street scenes
SV Tree stump
GV Pile of garbage on roadside
GV Squatter huts over sewers
SV People walk past camera
CU Money changing hands (3 shots)
GV Back street slum area
GV Block of flats
GTV and SV street scene and traffic
GV Back street slum area (2 shots)
GV Roadside traffic and Pan to rubbish on fire
Initials OS/1554 CM/OS/1624
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Saigon is typical of most cities and large towns in South Vietnam which are suffering the effects of rapid growth in the population as the refugees of the war crowd in.
Congestion, pollution and inflation, the ills that beset modern American cities, are now just as prevalent in a capital where American influence is paramount.
Yet American advisers have been reluctant to fight the urbanisation of the people, since when they leave the land they are not so readily influenced by the Vietcong.
For many South Vietnamese however, the urban scene is far from kind. Ten per cent of Saigon's population live in splendid villas. Fifty per cent live in abject squalor, and the rest are the middle class. In these conditions, there may well be a revolt against the authorities to improve a situation which has got out of control.
The North Vietnamese have already spoken of changing their strategy to exploit the discontent in the cities of the south.
This film from the American National Broadcasting Company illustrates the bad conditions in Saigon, and shows some of the difficulties facing the new city-dweller.
SYNOPSIS: For generations the Muri family were rice-farmers in the Mekong delta province of Binh Binh. Now they operate a roadside restaurant on the outskirts of Saigon. Their story is of a country turned around by war from farmers to city-dwellers. Before the war only 20 per cent of the population lived in cities. Now an estimated sixty per cent live in urban areas. And American officials here believe that the majority of refugee families here, like the Muris, although nostalgic about farming their ancestral lands, will decide to stay in the city and contend with mounting congestion, pollution and inflation.
Urbanisation problems are all magnified here in Saigon. Built by the French to resemble a tranquil provincial capital, Saigon has now swelled with refuges to become the most densely populated city in the world. 2 1/2 million, crammed into twenty-four square miles. (62.2 sq. kilos)
The once beautiful shade trees are now dying from the fumes of trucks, cars and motor bikes, bumper to bumper. Mountains of garbage confound a small sanitation force, and squatter huts proliferate even over foul open sewers. But still, migration from country to city goes on. In spits of more farmland, secure and available under new land reforms, Saigon is still fat city, where fortunes are made as piastres and dollars flow freely.
The contrasts are sharp. Ten per cent live in splendid villas. Fifty per cent in abject squalor. The remaining forty per cent are the middle class. Until recently there has been little official dismay here over urbanisation. As one top American adviser put it. "We're winning the war through urbanisation. When the people come to the cities, they remove themselves from enemy influence." But if living under Government control means to life in a slum, urbanisation may prove a hollow success in the long run. Recently North Vietnamese party secretary Ley Luan spoke of a new strategy to exploit discontent in the cities of the south.