pie, work groups buried more than 6,000 bodies killed in the battle for the city, and other work gangs cleared the debris and rubble from the streets. Municipal employees had returned both water and electricity to "satisfactory operation condition." U.S. and South Vietnamese munitions disposal specialists had disarmed or otherwise disposed of unexploded ordnance. Work had started on the second and third phases, the repair of public buildings and the reconstruction of private homes.-''
Elsewhere in I Corps, the South Vietnamese also had made some inroads on the damage caused by enemy assaults. Outside of Hue, displaced people were entitled to a somewhat lesser sum, 5,000 piasters ($42.00), but the same amount of roofing and cement to rebuild their homes. By the end of March, more tlian l ,400 families received all or part of their settlement. III MAF units had provided over 1,000,000 meals to civilians, nearly double the usual amount of foodstuffs provided under civic action programs. Relief workers distributed more than 21,000 tons office in the Corps' five provinces. Corps officials had also taken steps to eliminate abuses and some of the most ineffective leaders in local government. They had dismissed one province chief, two district chiefs, and two village chiefs.
Despite an impressive start, Operation Recovery soon bogged down upon the unusual demands put upon the overburdened and inefficient South Vietnamese administrative apparatus. While acknowledging that the government had begun reconstruction, resettlement, and economic revival programs, American observers rejwrted that by April die strains were beginning to show. They charged: "There was a critical decline in effectiveness when the program should have been gathering even greater momentum." Local officials had overspent their budgets and projects came to a standstill.-'"
Under Operation Recovery, the country also made some starts on mobilization of the populace. Vice President Ky authorized the establishment of special Self-Defense Groups in urban areas so they could defend themselves against any further incursions by the Communists. The idea was to distribute arms to the people
Photo is from the Abel Collection
South Vietnamese civilian refugees gather in a park near Hue University as the fighting continued in the city. In Operation Recovery, the South Vietnamese attempted to help the displaced residents to rebuild their homes.