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Published on Jun 29, 2014
Out of estimated nearly 1 million Vietnamese who fled Vietnam in the 1970s, nearly 255,000 of them landed on the shores of Malaysia and most of them were placed on Bidong Island, Malaysia. Max Robinson of ABC News World News introduces a report on the flood of refugees and conditions at Bidong Island. The island hold a important place in the sad history of the Vietnamese boat people. By January 1979, there were 18,000 Vietnamese on the island and by June 1979 it was said to be the most heavily populated place on earth with about 40,000 refugees crowded into a flat area hardly larger than a football field. One aid worker dubbed it 'Hell Isle.' The island is off the coast of Terengganu on the east coast. It was opened to tourism in 1999. It is little developed today. There is a memorial to the Vietnamese who transited there, some who did not survive.