A s many as two million people remain unaccounted for during the Khmer Rouge's
"Killing Fields" years, a senior UN medical demographer said on July
Vincent Fauveau, country director of the United Nations Fund for
Population Activities, estimated Cambodia's population after the end of the
Khmer Rouge regime, to be "about 5.5 million after 1979."
said there was a population discrepancy of two million people during the Khmer
Rouge reign but this could include Cambodians who died from natural causes or
those who fled the country as refugees.
"I have no way to verify this,
but there was a loss or deficit of two million people during the Democratic
"There were probably as many as one million excess
deaths compared to the regular expected deaths of the old people," Fauveau told
a news conference.
Most experts agree that one million Cambodians died
from execution, disease or starvation between 1975 and 1979 when the Khmer Rouge
regime was violently ousted from power following a lightening Vietnamese
military invasion in December 1978.
The UN will undertake a national
population census of Cambodia in 1998, the first since 1962, Fauveau
Fauveau said that the census would cost at least five million
dollars of which the UNFPA would provide $4.5 million.
The census would
cover social, economic and demographic statistics, but would not probe
population losses under Pol Pot.
"It's a very sensitive question," he