asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether his attention has been called to the increasing mortality among Greek children through lack of milk; and will he take immediate steps to ensure that all possible facilities are made available to the Greek Government to arrange the necessary supplies?
While exact statistics are not obtainable, I fear there can be no doubt that an abnormally high death rate prevails among Greek children. It is a reasonable inference that this is partly due to scarcity of milk and fats. Before the war Greece was substantially self-supporting in milk, and a very large exporter of olive oil. My information is that both these commodities have been requisitioned or otherwise acquired on a considerable scale by the occupying authorities, who must, therefore, be held responsible for the present acute shortage. As regards the second part of the Question, my hon. and gallant Friend is aware that the Swedish scheme for the importation and distribution of wheat from Canada has only been in operation for a short time. I cannot give any fresh undertaking as to the future; at least, until the results of this experiment are known.
Has the attention of the hon. Gentleman been called to statements by the President of the Greek Red Cross that 110,000 out of 300,000 children have died in Athens and Piraeus from starvation, malnutrition, and epidemics since the attack on Greece began, and that there is special need for milk for young children and babies?
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether the ships carrying food relief to Greece are allowed to carry Red Cross markings; if not, whether they are clearly marked by other distinctive markings to remove any excuse for attack; and whether this relief service is now proceeding without interruption?
The Swedish relief ships taking wheat to Greece carry Red Cross markings, in addition to Swedish markings, on the hull and deck; they are also fully illuminated at night. This service is proceeding without interruption. The first three ships, which arrived at Piraeus at the end of August, left on 23rd September for the voyage back to Canada. Two more ships arrived at Piraeus on 18th September, and the last three of the ships in this service will be leaving Montreal very shortly.