[Children of Spain] December 1938.
"[This is] After my seventeenth visit to Spain since the war started, I am confident the wonderful work of the Int. Solidarity Fund [in
connection with the foodstuffs, clothing and medical supplies sent out by the Labour Party, International Trade Unions, and the Co-operative Union. Such help to Spain] has never been so vitally necessary as at this moment.
Food is very strictly rationed everywhere and already the potato crop of this year is eaten along with other root plants. The small bread ration that is given three times a week a Spaniard ate normally at one meal. A sugar ration of three ounces per head per month, a small quantity of chick peas and haricot beans perhaps once a week, no oil or fat even once a month, one ration of meat or fish weekly, the sale of flour is prohibited and milk only given in special cases to invalids and little children.
The Spanish people are starving!!! Many are going on foot day and night all over their territory always in the hope that in the next village they will find something. Passing along I picked up many women and children in my car,completely exhusted [exhausted] on the roadside with their long tramp day after day. These proud women say, " Señorita, I ask nothing for myself but if you could help me to get some milk for my babies". " Can't you put a milk canteen in every school, my children are getting too weak to go, it would save their lives this winter!" " If only we could get some soap to keep down infection ".
The International Solidarity Fund is providing 100,000 children daily with their breakfast which consists of half a pint of hot milk and a piece of bread or biscuit. It is completely supporting many colonies of orphans of the war and supplying the hospitals and refugee homes with much of their food.
[Not underlined] Shortage of warm clothing, no boots or shoes on many, and no coal and firewood makes a terrible picture on the verge of winter!
[The hospitals and homes will have no heating whatever and "hot" water has to be a great necessity before it is attainable. Cooking in the home is another problem - I saw several women trying to solve the problem by stripping the outer bark of the splendid plane trees throughout the streets of Barcelona with a sharp knife.]
Scabies is spreading rapidly, and although it is a disease of contact only, yet it can be spread by dirty paper money or brushing past a person in the street. Many of the cases I saw were in a terrible state of sores from constant scratching, but which could be stamped out in 48 hours with hot baths and soap. The latter is unattainable for them and the former little use without it.
Children are seen in crowds around the hospitals at meal times their little hands up to the windows in the hope of a crust or something that the patients cannot eat.
The bombing of Barcelona last week on Wednesday and Thursday, (November 23rd and 24th.) was a terrible ordeal - on Wednesday night no one went to bed, there were five merciless raids. Thousands were sheltering in the Underground stations, many in the refuges but many waiting in their homes with calm faces to know their fate. The first two of the ten bombardments took a toll of more than 200 victims, of the other eight the Spanish Government issued no further figures, but they were not of a lesser nature then the others. Since then there have been no less than four bombardments daily.
[Two days later from one of the colonies of our war orphans we were watching one of these bombardments over Barcelona the children]