Ho Chi Minh City

“…a single event has left its mark on Saigon more than any other conflicts combined. The event is the known as the ‘Cuôc Di Cö Vó Dai’ (the Great Transmigration) in Southern Vietnam… As a result of spontaneous movement, foreign aid, and RVN propaganda, more than 800,000 refugees flocked southwards to Saigon by the means of land and marine transmigration.

– Lau Tsz Long, “Saigon, 1954-60,” 2016

Narratives


SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 15. Further Points of Study | Conclusion

Lau Tsz Long

Following our investigation on the urban issues generated by this population influx, there are several ambitious yet unsuccessful attempts by the RVN government to combat the social issues by urban planning. Within the historical period, Thu-Thiem, the area now named as District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City, often emerged to be the central crown-jewel of ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 14. Development of Vung Tau

To Wang Yat

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 14. Development of Vung Tau

Vung Tau is a coastal city 125km South of Saigon. It had been a favourite getaway for the French colonials and a holiday location for wealthy Vietnamese from Saigon since the 19th century1. The role of the city as a major port for receiving refugees from the North from 1954 to 1955 has changed the ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 13. Personal account of a bac di cu

To Wang Yat

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 13. Personal account of a bac di cu

Doan Thanh Liem is one of the immigrants from the North (bac di-cu). In June 1954, 20 year-old Doan first moved from Hanoi to Haiphong and stayed in Haiphong for a month. In July, when the Geneva Accord was still half-signed, he took a French military ship with about 800 people. They arrived at Cap ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 12. Case Study: Religious Institutions in Bien Hoa

Sin Chung Kei Nathan

The huge influx of Catholic refugees to the South directly implied an increase of churches in refugee camps. The Diem government discouraged the dispersal of refugees into the South population, attempting to settle the influx into distinctive entities, usually in areas away from high concentrated population; Bien Hoa had a light population until refugee’s arrival. ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 11. The Catholic Community

Sin Chung Kei Nathan

In the period of 1954-55, more than 650,000 Catholics fled form the North to the South, thereby doubling the population of the Church in such a short amount of time. The Northern brought with them a distinctive social structure, a separately developed cultural perspective which fundamentally changed the nature of the Southern Church. During the operation ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 10. Case Study: Issue faced by the COMIGAL during the Resettlement Programmes.

Lau Tsz Long

With such an unprecedented influx of population, the effort to resettle the Northern refugees was a vast challenge for the COMIGAL and their foreign aids. In order to examine the population influx and the issues of the resettlement in depth, it is important to understand the actual issues and difficulties encountered by these stakeholders. A ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 9. Phase III: Further Resettlement

Lau Tsz Long

The third phase of the refugees resettlement from the North started from late 1955 and quickly became the policy focus for the RVN Government. After the first two phases of the resettlement programme, the resettled refugees are mostly gathered in the provinces surrounding Saigon-Cholon. In December 1955, of the thirty-one provinces that contained resettlement camps, ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 8. Phase II: Peripheral Settlement Camps

To Wang Yat

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 8. Phase II: Peripheral Settlement Camps

The second phase began in conjunction with the three-hundred-day period specified by the Geneva Accords. In this period, most of the refugees in Saigon, Cholon and Vung Tau moved to more permanent settlements in provinces right next to these city centres (Hansen, 2009). The field study of the Refugee Commission found that by September 1955, ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 7. Phase II: Peripheral Settlement Camps

Sin Chung Kei Nathan

The second phrase of the resettlement started prior to the conclusion of the Geneva Agreement as the immense influx of refugees caused existing infrastructure and planning to shatter.  It did not address settling refugees in strategic areas as a long term goal but instead with need to get them out of facilities within urban areas ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 6. Phase I: Temporary settlement

To Wang Yat

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 6. Phase I: Temporary settlement

The first phase of resettlement happened during the period of the operation of Article 14(d) of the Geneva Agreement. Most of the immigrants evacuated through Hanoi and Haiphong were resided in 42 tram tiep-cu (reception stations) proximate to the points of disembarkation in Saigon, Cho Lin and Vung Tau (Hansen, 2008). Their living conditions were ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 5. Operation Passage to Freedom

Sin Chung Kei Nathan

The resettlement movement named ‘Operation Passage to Freedom’, or ‘Operation Exodus’ to the South Vietnamese, was a result from the discussions in Geneva Accords on July 20, 1954.  It was pivotal in the sense that it decided the retreat of French troops, a temporal division of North and South Vietnam, and provided civilians the freedom ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 4. Foreign Support

Sin Chung Kei Nathan

Without the assistance of the United States government, the power of President Diem would be fragile during such an important time frame after First Indochina War where Vietnam is split into the North and South. As the power of French colony begins to weaken, Diem, who already had prominent connections within the United States, was ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 3. Protagonists: Vietnamese Organization (COMIGAL) and the President

To Wang Yat

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 3. Protagonists: Vietnamese Organization (COMIGAL) and the President

President Ngo Dinh Diem Ngo Dinh Diem was appointed as the Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam by Head of State Bao Dai in 1954, and established the Republic of Vietnam after a fraud referendum which deposed Bao Dai (Schulziger, 1999). He became the president of the Republic. Following the July 1954 Geneva Accords, combatants and ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 2. Historical Context: Warfare and Migration

Lau Tsz Long

Vietnam experienced a prolonged period of warfare since the 1946 to the 1970s. To understand the issue of refugees, it is crucial to grasp the timeline of these military conflicts. The warfare can be summarised into the following periods. First Indochina War (1946-1954) The First Indochina War is a war between the Viet Minh (Vietnamese Communists) Forces and ...

SAIGON (1954-1960)/ 1. FOREWORD

Lau Tsz Long

Ho Chi Minh City, otherwise known as Saigon1, is essentially a city of migrants. With its enormous footprint nowadays, it is mesmerising to see it was developed from a French military outpost no bigger than 0.5 square kilometre. Dating from its French possession 2, each of its period of rapid urban expansions are preceded by ...

 

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