After these two months, not a penny more has been spent, and thus, the number of deaths has risen dramatically.
In a village in the area around Homs, one hundred people died of hunger in just a week; they belonged to one of our Protestant parishes. From this one local fact one can easily infer how hunger and illness are raging in other towns. Cries for aid reach us from all sides, requests for bread and money. The assistance centres for the deportees set up by the government have long been disbanded in many towns. The streets, villages, steppes from Konia to Mosul & Aleppo to Kâan (near the Dead Sea) are dotted with graves and unburied corpses. The vultures and jackals are tired of clearing up. In the beginning, the people still carried some things with them, but they were robbed along the way and even the underwear was taken off some of them. They sold or ate many of their things themselves. Now they have nothing left. Someone told me, "We've sold our blankets and the piece of rug we sat or lay on, everything, even our cups. We asked farmers along the way to help us, but they turned us away, remarking that they would give us bread if we sold them our children." Many did so: children were sold for 2 medjidije. The number of sick and starving children has become legion. The people on the streets, without a home, without food, without clothes, without any sort of medical aid; yet everything is so terribly expensive; can a people continue to exist like this? Even here in Aleppo there are people who are starving. A man said, "We were a family of eleven, and I am the only one left alive." A little girl told us, "We were ten in all; I am the only one left." A mother said while crying bitterly, "I had six children; four of them died of hunger and the other two are on their last legs."
I would not like to list any further facts. Those I have mentioned are enough to give a man of mercy and conscience a picture of what is happening here. In the name of humanity, in the name of Christianity, have pity on this unhappy, starving, trampled-on people, a dying people. If possible, put a piece of bread in children's hands that reach out hungrily; if not, at least think of them with compassion and pity.
Report by Sister Beatrice Rohner.
The telegram giving permission arrived today; I believe we must do what we can in this matter, however unpleasant working with the authorities may be; this may be an important step for the future of our work here in this country.
The house in which the children – 311 at present – have been put up is in the centre of town and belongs to a French holy order. The nuns were expelled and the building requisitioned when the war broke out. Then soldiers lived there for months, after which it was placed at the disposal of the deportees passing through.
Thousands came and went, became ill and died or recuperated there. 50 % of the little children died; those still living are in a pitiful state. The entire house is contaminated, dirty and half demolished. We looked for another, but it was futile: all of the better buildings have been set up as hospitals and schools. Dr. [The following sentence was crossed out . Only fragments are legible.] ..... suggested ...sending … children to Djerablus on the Euphrates River ... hours by train from here …, because in the association's empty barracks …, but we have heard that typhus rages far worse there than here. If the children are to be saved we must begin working immediately; I expect Paula in 1-2 weeks with 1-2 girls. In the meantime, I am getting the authorities to carry out the necessary repairs and have set myself up there in a makeshift fashion.
Bab, south-east of here, is now the centre for new deportees; thousands are dying there of hunger and epidemics. Burying goes on the entire day. The last Armenians are being deported from Aintab; I am afraid that it will then once again be poor Marash's turn.
I enclose a report from the local preacher.
[From the German Foreign Office to Schuchardt, 19 February]