Boat People

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Boat People

Carina Hoang

Publisher:Carina Hoang Communications

The years 1975 to 1996 were witness to the largest mass migration in modern history, with more than a million people leaving their war-torn homeland, Vietnam, in search of safety. Forced migrations are usually fraught with danger and even hazard as the displaced people negotiate mountains, deserts and oceans in all kinds of weather. What was unique about the Vietnam Exodus was that the only route for escape for over a million people was by sea - across open water - and so the only way was by boat. Subsequently this group of refugees has become known the world over as the 'boat people'. Most of the escape boats had been built as river craft plying trade on inland waterways. They were not designed to stand up to the rigours of open-water travel across the South China Sea and often simply fell apart in conditions more challenging than a medium swell. For this reason alone many thousands perished, but others succumbed to starvation, dehydration and cold-blooded attacks by Thai pirates. One in three boat people never completed their journey. Those who did survive it have become a diaspora of Vietnamese people making new lives for themselves in many countries around the world.This beautiful book by Carina Hoang portrays just a handful of experiences of members of this new diaspora - the perilous sea journey, the time spent in their temporary island camps as refugees and their final journey to their new adopted homelands. It is a testimony to the human spirit.

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