J.D.C. Doctors Notify Britain of Possible Epidemic Among Jewish Infants on Cyprus

Joint Distribution Committee physicians ministering to the needs of Jews interned here today notified British authorities on the island that they are no longer able to accept responsibility for the welfare of babies living in the internment camps.

Owing to the ban on the immigration of military-age Jews to Israel from here, and the refusal of many of the refugees to break up their families, there are at present 772 infants under six months of age living in the British detention camps. The J.D.C. physicians expressed fears today that an epidemic–”which could not be stopped”–might break out at any time.

A report submitted to Maurice Laub, J.D.C. director for Cyprus, by Dr. Sonia Raines, a children’s specialist affiliated with Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, point out that leaking Nissen huts–in which most of the Jews reside–as well as the lack of heating facilities hamper regular bathing among the refugees. These conditions, coupled with the cold spell which has gripped the island, have led to an alarming member of skin infections and other diseases, the report says. Dr. Raines adds that many of the Cyprus parents distrust the island doctors because they are unable to remedy even the most common complaints. The present birthrate in the camps is more than 100 per month.

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