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Galang Refugee Camp 1975 - 1996 Riau Archipelago, Indonesia

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Galang Boat people:

If you stayed in this camp, we need your story. Any information is highly appreciated. If you see it here, we'd still like to hear from you. Corroboration is important. We will always need more information. Please email us at vt268tengah@gmail.com

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In Indonesia, the UNHCR set up a refugee camp on Galang Island. The camp covered about 16 square kilometers, 20% of the island. Galang is part of the Riau Archipelago, near Singapore. The Galang camp was well equipped, with a camp administration office, PMI (Indonesian Red Cross) Hospital, school, Catholic church, Buddist temple, cemetery, and a Youth Center (set up and run by the refugees themselves). The Camp was divided into three sites: Site IA, Site IB, and Site II. This camp accommodated about 250,000 boat people from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam from 1975 to 1996. Most of them were Vietnamese. About 50 babies were born in the camp each month.

In Indonesia, the UNHCR set up a refugee camp on Galang Island. The camp covered about 16 square kilometers, 20% of the island. Galang is part of the Riau Archipelago, near Singapore. The Galang camp was well equipped, with a camp administration office, PMI (Indonesian Red Cross) Hospital, school, Catholic church, Buddist temple, cemetery, and a Youth Center (set up and run by the refugees themselves). The Camp was divided into three sites: Site IA, Site IB, and Site II. This camp accommodated about 250,000 boat people from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam from 1975 to 1996. Most of them were Vietnamese. About 50 babies were born in the camp each month.

Camp Galang (Sinam) is located about 34 kilometers from the city of Batam. To get there, visitors must cross several bridges from Batam.

The bridges are a tourist attraction unto themselves. There are a total of six in the chain, known collectively as the Barelang bridge. The name is an acronym from 3 islands’ names - Batam, Rempang & Galang.

The first bridge is a tourist attraction in its own right. It is known as the Bridge of Tengku Fisabilillah, connecting Batam island to tiny Tonton Island, and it’s 642 meters long.

Construction details of the Bridge of Tengku Fisabilillah can be found here: http://www.vsl-sg.com/flip/batam-bridge/index.html

The former refugee camp is being maintained as a tourist attraction by the Batam Industrial Development Authority (BIDA). A volunteer group has visited to clean and maintain the camp area and cemetery. There are even a couple of men in the area who lived in the Galang camp in its heyday, and are willing to talk about it with visitors.

Galang Camp
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