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DA NANG, Vietnam — The nearly 30,000 refugees sheltered at the former U.S. Marine base at Camp Books on the city's outskirts have only the gentle caress of a cooling breeze to offer comfort from the oppressive heat and the heartbreak of being forced from their homes in the wake of Communist invasion.

Camp Books occupied by some 27,536 refugees is the largest of 17 government controlled refugees sites established since North Vietnamese pushed across the DMZ nearly a month and a half ago with the refugees one step ahead. Some 207,299 refugees in and around. South Vietnam's second-largest city are sheltered in the camp, in schools and churches. Another suspected 200,000 refugees in Da Nang have not registered with authorities and. are either staying with relatives in the city or "just living in open spaces,". one U.S. official here said..

Government workers here have been able to handle the flood of refugees with adequate food and medical care although there was a measles outbreak at one camp.

Despite government efforts, however, tents have begun to spring up in some camps where permanent structures have become filled. "They came into the city and just took over everything" a spokesman said.

Officials here are on edge wondering where to put an additional flow of refugees, should the old imperial capital city of Hue come under Communist shelling as happened to the provincial capital city of Quang Tri.

"We expect a large influx if and when the first shells land in Hue," one American advisor said. "We're fighting against time," he added. Different refugee relocation points are being studied in Saigon, sources said, in case the refugee load becomes too heavy here.

"Although a small number of refugees have filtered back into Hue, most of them are staying here," a spokesman said.

Among those who left Hue after Quang Tri city fell to the Communists were civil servants. About 20 per cent of Hue's civil service department was recalled from Da Nang by I Corps commander, Lt. Gen. Ngo Quang Truong, a spokesman said.

Some refugees have been relocated in III Military Region although a U.S. official said "we might have to go into Quang Nam province ... in an emergency type situation."

Many of the refugee camps are former American military bases such as the one at Camp Books.


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