Sunday, September 29, 2013

United Nations Evacuation Center: Tubabao, Philippines 1949 - 1951

In 1949, 6,000 Russians were granted temporary refuge on the Philippine Island of Tubabao. This post explains why the Russians fled to the Philippines and shows a cover mailed from Canada to a Ukrainian representative in the Philippine evacuation centre.

"White" Russians in Exile

After the Russian Civil War of 1922-24, soldiers of the anti-Bolshevik "White" Army and their families fled Russia. Several thousand Russians settled in China, many of whom became residents of Shanghai. The Russians remained in China until the late 1940s but were forced to evacuate during the Chinese Civil War as the Chinese Red Army was securing victory over Nationalist forces in mainland China.

The Philippine government provided temporary refuge for the 6,000 Russians escaping from China. In 1949, the United Nations International Refugee Organization (IRO) established the United Nations Evacuation Center (UNEC) on the Philippine island of Tubabao.

Tubabao Evacuation Center

The Russian refugees were then offered permanent settlement in other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, as well as South American nations.

Mail from Evacuation Center Tubabao

 Guinan to Hong Kong, May 23, 1950
(The camp was located about 15 miles from the village of Guinan)

IRO - UNEC Post Office cachet applied to all refugee mail
May 19, 1950

Mail to Evacuation Center Tubabao

The cover below was sent by the Ukrainian Service, Winnipeg, to the Ukrainian National Group Representative at the Tubabao Evacuation Center on January 30, 1950.

Return address

The air mail letter rate for 1/4 ounce was 25 cents
(5 cent stamp fell off)

Post Office Receiver Handstamp

IRO - UNEC Post Office cachet used as a receiver
February 11, 1950