The opening to one of the 'Cu Chi tunnels'

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    And now to the Cu Chi tunnels themselves. This is not the typical one of the tunnels, but is certainly a favourite photo spot with many visitors. More on that later. American soldiers used the term Black Echo to describe the conditions within the tunnels. For the Viet Cong too, life in the tunnels was difficult. Air, food and water were scarce and the tunnels were infested with ants, poisonous centipedes, scorpions, spiders and vermin. Most of the time, soldiers would spend the day in the tunnels working or resting and come out only at night to scavenge for supplies, tend their crops, or engage the enemy in battle. Sometimes, during periods of heavy bombing or American troop movement, they would be forced to remain underground for many days at a time. Sickness was rampant among the people living in the tunnels, especially malaria, which was the second largest cause of death next to battle wounds. A captured Viet Cong report suggests that at any given time half of a PLAF unit had malaria and that “one-hundred percent had intestinal parasites of significance. Closed and camouflaged, it is almost undetectable. More notes as we go along in this album. (Cu Chi Tunnels, Saigon/ HCM, Vietnam, Nov. 2016)

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