Kuku Refugee Camp

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Kuku Boat people

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Story of HG 3438

Our boat HG3438 arrived at KuKu, Indonesia in late June 1979.

Our journey started from Can Tho, Hau Giang (hence the boat's prefix). I believed the planned destination was Maylaysia.

I don’t know the initial head counts. Somewhere close to Ca Mau, the coast guards stopped our boat and transferred many people from a smaller boat to ours. That brought our total to 607.

  • On the 2nd day, we stopped by the Oil Drilling platform somewhere in the East China Sea. Most boat people probably recalled this landmark. The crews fron the station provided us some water and fruits, then we were on our way.
  • On the 3nd day, our boat's engine died. The weak anshor did not seem to stop the boat from flowing freely.
  • We were in the sea for a total of 15 days, during which we were robbed by 3 different groups of prirate and weathered a rather severe storm. Rain water was the only intake we had during the last few days of the journey. We lost one baby and an elderly who succumbed to illness.
  • On the 15th day, somehow the Indonesian Navy spotted us. They towed our boat then helped us land on a small civilized island. During the 15 day journey, I witnessed 2 corpses swallowd by the grey sea. We lost 5 people.
  • We stayed there overnight under the open sky. In the morning, they then transferred us to KuKu. That was where we stayed for the next 8 months until settling in Philadelphia in April 1980.

By hg3438_hung Feb 22nd 2009.

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