RELIEF WORK IN SPAIN.
PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL APPEAL.
The tragic Civil War which is at present ravaging Spain is causing terrible suffering and hardship to large sections of her population. In the areas affected by the actual fighting whole villages have been destroyed by artillery and air bombardment, and thousands of people have been rendered homeless. The hospitals are full of sick and wounded, combatants and non-combatants alike, and trained medical aid and medical supplies are lamentably deficient.
In addition to this there is already a serious shortage of food and clothing in many parts of the country affecting particularly the civil population. In the larger towns food queues are the rule, and in some places there is not sufficient milk to feed the children; while meat, butter and other necessities are praotically unobtainable.
There is also the plight of the refugees from the afflicted areas. Reports from Spain in regard to this aspect of the Civil War are at present scanty, but it appears that some of the roads leading away from the areas where there is fighting are congested with refugees, mainly old men, women and children. From Madrid alone thousands of children, many of them orphans, have been evacuated to the sea-port towns, where great difficulty is being experienced in finding them accomodation and in providing them with food and clothing.
This distress is likely to increase rather than diminish as the struggle becomes prolonged, and it will continue to exist long after the fighting is over. As the winter sets in the suffering and privation will become daily more acute. Indeed, it may well reach appalling proportions, especially as the normal economic life of the country has become completely disorganised, imports from abroad have been reduced to a minimum, and industrial activity is being largely devoted to war purposes. There is, therefore, urgent need for organised relief work on a large scale.
A certain amount of relief is already being organised in Great Britain. Brief particulars are given in Appendix A. In some cases the relief is being provided impartially, but in others there is a bias in favour of one or other of the contending parties. There is no desire to disparage these efforts, but relative to the need they are quite inadequate.
What is now required is that a National Appeal should be launched by such a body and in such a way that it will command an immediate public response on a national scale. Nothing short of this will make it possible to cope with the grave situation which is developing.
Our proposals are as follows: -
1. That a strong "Appeals Committee" be formed, such as will command a wide and immediate response from all sections of the community. The Committee would have to include among its members not only people whose names are well known in public life, but also leading people connected with Anglo-Spanish affairs, and as far as may