March 5, 2018

30 Incredible Color Photographs That Capture Brutal Life of Vietnamese Boat People From the Late 1970s to Early 1980s

Vietnamese boat people refers to refugees who fled Vietnam by boat and ship after the Vietnam War, especially during 1978 and 1979, but continuing until the early 1990s. The term is also often used generically to refer to all the Vietnamese (about 2 million) who left their country by any means between 1975 and 1995 (see Indochina refugee crisis). This article uses "boat people" to apply only to those who fled Vietnam by boat.

The number of boat people leaving Vietnam and arriving safely in another country totalled almost 800,000 between 1975 and 1995. Many of the refugees failed to survive the passage, facing danger from pirates, over-crowded boats, and storms. The boat people's first destinations were the Southeast Asian countries of British Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. An estimated 14% of the refugees were Chinese or Sino-Vietnamese people.

From refugee camps in Southeast Asia, the great majority of boat people were resettled in developed countries, some in the United States and most of the remainder in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Several tens of thousands were repatriated to Vietnam, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Programs and facilities to carry out resettlement included the Orderly Departure Program, the Philippine Refugee Processing Center, and the Comprehensive Plan of Action.

South Vietnamese refugees approach a U.S. war ship to seek refuge from the invading force from the North April 1975 in the South China Sea near Saigon. American involvement in the Vietnam War came to an end when troops from communist North Vietnam invaded Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam in the South.

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1989: Vietnamese boat refugees arrive in Hong Kong. More than 200,000 Vietnamese refugees arrived by boat in Hong Kong during the late '70s and '80s, after communist North Vietnam defeated the U.S. backed south in 1975. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees has helped resettle more than 143,000 of them since 1975, mainly in the United States and Australia. Resettlement figures have been steadily declining in the past decade, dropping from 7,600 in 1990 to just 70 in 1999. The last Vietnamese Refugee camp in Hong Kong closed on May 31, 2000. (Photo by Gerhard Joren/LightRocket via Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1982: Boat people leaving the Viet-Nam in South China Sea are rescued by Medecins du Monde, Doctors Of The World onboard the Goelo boat. (Photo by Michel Setboum/Getty Images)

1978: On board the Hai Hong. (Photo by Alain DeJean/Sygma/CORBIS)

1978: The attempted to transport 2,500 Vietnamese refugees to Malaysia, but the Malaysian authorities refused them and, after supplying them with food and drugs, set them back adrift. (Photo by Alain Dejean/Sygma/Corbis

1978: On board the Hai Hong. (Photo by Alain DeJean/Sygma/CORBIS)

1978: The Hai Hong attempted to transport 2,500 Vietnamese refugees to Malaysia, but the Malaysian authorities refused them and, after supplying them with food and drugs, set them back adrift. (Photo by Alain DeJean/Sygma/CORBIS)

1978: On board the Hai Hong. (Photo by Alain DeJean/Sygma/CORBIS)

1979: Kuantan Beach, Malaysia: Refugees aboard beached boat from Vietnam. (Photo by Bettmann/CORBIS)

Crewmen of the USS Durham (LKA-114) take Vietnamese refugees from a small craft in 1975. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

South Vietnamese refugees in boats approach a U.S. war ship to seek refuge from the invading force from the North April 1975 in the South China Sea near Saigon. American involvement in the Vietnam War came to an end when troops from communist North Vietnam invaded Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam in the South. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)

Fall of Saigon 1975: USS Midway, Vietnamese refugees. (Mike Baxter Collection)

Fall of Saigon 1975: USS Midway, Vietnamese refugees. (Mike Baxter Collection)

South Vietnamese refugees in boats approach a U.S. war ship to seek refuge from the invading force from the North April 1975 in the South China Sea near Saigon. American involvement in the Vietnam War came to an end when troops from communist North Vietnam invaded Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam in the South. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)

Off the Coast of Hong Kong, 1979 - Ethnic Chinese refugees flee from Vietnam on an overcrowded freighter UnspecifiedNovember 01, 1979. (Photo by William Albert Allard)

South Vietnamese refugees in boats approach a U.S. war ship to seek refuge from the invading force from the North April 1975 in the South China Sea near Saigon. American involvement in the Vietnam War came to an end when troops from communist North Vietnam invaded Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam in the South. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)

1978: A group of Vietnamese refugees sit on a cramped boat as they arrive to Malaysia. (Photo by Bettmann/CORBIS)

1978: Panamanian registered freighter with 2,700 Vietnamese refugees from fallen South Vietnam anchored on Manila Bay after Philippine authorities refused to allow them to disembark from ship. The Vietnam however, can no longer be accomodated at the Fabella refugee center in Manila where more than 3,000 refugees have been housed. (Photo by Bettmann/CORBIS)

1978: Panamanian registered freighter with 2,700 Vietnamese refugees from fallen South Vietnam anchored on Manila Bay after Philippine authorities refused to allow them to disembark from ship. The Vietnam however, can no longer be accomodated at the Fabella refugee center in Manila where more than 3,000 refugees have been housed. (Photo by Bettmann/CORBIS)






FOLLOW US
FacebookTumblrPinterestInstagramFlipboardRSS

Browse by Decades

Popular Posts