Threatened by the approach of communist forces from the north along Highway One and from the west from the fallen Central High-lends, more and more South Vietnamese are abandoning their towns and villages for the relative security of Saigon to the south.
SV's townspeople onto the boats and packing (3 shots)
SV's people and baggage onto boats (3 shots)
LV laden boat past deserted town church and square
SV boats out
GV and SV boat tuck on bank (3 shots)
GV loaded boats away
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Background: Threatened by the approach of communist forces from the north along Highway One and from the west from the fallen Central High-lends, more and more South Vietnamese are abandoning their towns and villages for the relative security of Saigon to the south.
On Tuesday 25th march almost the entire population of the town of Binh Tuy -- near the northeast coast and only one hundred miles (160kms) from Saigon -- packed their belongings into riverboats and sailed for the safety of the South Vietnamese capital.
Taking everything they could carry -- and often more -- the townspeople loaded the boats with furniture, pets and even their motor scooters, at times driving the small craft into the river bottom with the weight of baggage.
With the Viet Cong forces only 15 miles (25 kms) to the north and still advancing, the townspeople appeared to be happy to leave behind their homes and fields. The area around Binh Tuy is comparatively rich, having been the subject of intensive rural development by the Saigon government in recent years. The Viet Cong, say the townspeople, would force them to stay in Bihn Tuy and take everything from them anyway.
The evacuation of the now empty town was a success as far as the townspeople were concerned, but only provides yet another problem for the already hard-pressed Southern government, damaging morale and further straining the overburdened space and facilities of the capital where these people, now refugees, are headed.