• Short Summary

    NEWSPAPERMEN SAY THAT ONLY A MIRACLE HAS SAVED THE 5-HUNDRED CHILDREN OF THE NIGERIAN VILLAGE OF SANTANA SINCE FEDERAL TROOPS LEFT THEM LAST SATURDAY IN THE COMPOUND OF A DISUSED AND UNATTENDED HOSPITAL IN POT HARCOURT....

  • Description

    NEWSPAPERMEN SAY THAT ONLY A MIRACLE HAS SAVED THE 5-HUNDRED CHILDREN OF THE NIGERIAN VILLAGE OF SANTANA SINCE FEDERAL TROOPS LEFT THEM LAST SATURDAY IN THE COMPOUND OF A DISUSED AND UNATTENDED HOSPITAL IN POT HARCOURT....A MIRACLE, THEY SAY, BROUGHT ABOUT BY 50 CONSTRUCT WORKERS WHO TOOK PITY ON THE TINY, STARVING CHILDREN. SINCE THEY FOUND THE CHILDREN AT THE WEEKEND, THESE 50 TOUGH CONSTRUCTION MEN, WHO HAD BEEN WORKING ON THE WAR-DAMAGED OIL REFINERY IN PORT HARCOURT, HAVE TENDED AND WASHED THEM, FED AND CARED FOR THEM.

    THE CHILDREN WERE ALL BROUGHT OUT OF THE RIVER STATE VILLAGE BY FEDERAL TROOPS, BUT WITH HOSPITALS ALREADY OVERCROWDED, THERE WAS NOWHERE TO TAKE THEM. THE SOLDIERS LEFT THE CHILDREN, THEIR LEGS AND ARMS THIN, THEIR STOMACHS DISTENDED WITH KWASHIORKOR, IN THE DISUSED NIGER HOSPITAL MATERNITY CLINIC. THERE WAS NO-ONE THERE TO HELP THEM, UNTIL THE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS CAME ALONG.

    ALL THE MEN ARE WORKING FOR A BRITISH COMPANY REPAIRING THE DAMAGE TO PORT HARCOURT'S OIL REFINERY. THEY HAD ALREADY GIVEN AWAY MUCH OF THEIR OWN FOOD TO REFUGEES SWARMING OUT OF THE REMNANTS OF THE FORMER, SO-CALLED REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA IN THE WAKE OF THE CIVIL WAR. WHEN THEY FOUND THE CHILDREN THEY DECIDED THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE THEY COULD DO BUT STAY AND HELP THEM.

    THEY RAISED MONEY AMONG THEMSELVES -- GBP 120 STERLING -- TO BUY MORE FOOD FOR THE CHILDREN. WHEN JOURNALISTS VISITED THE CLINIC THEY WERE SO APPALLED THAT THEY COLLECTED ANOTHER GBP 200 STERLING.

    DYSENTERY ACCOMPANIES KWASHIORKOR, AND THE COMPOUND AT THE CLINIC IS THICK IN THE SLIME OF VOMIT AND EXCREMENT. THE CONSTRUCT MEN MOVE THE FRAIL CREATURES AROUND AS THEY SCRAPE UP THE FILTH. SOMETIMES, AS THEY BATHE A CHILD IN AN OLD OIL DRUM, THEY DISCOVER TO THEIR HORROR THAT THE CHILD IS DEAD. IT IS OFTEN ALL TOO DIFFICULT FOR THE MEN TO TELL WHICH OF THE LIFELESS BODIES ON THE GROUND IS IN FACT ALIVE. THEIR COMPANY'S MEDICAL OFFICER AND NURSING STAFF HAVE MOVED INTO HELP....AND THE TOUGH, HARD CONSTRUCTION MEN HAVE BEEN SEEN TO WEEP WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD BY A NURSE THAT THE CHILD THEY ARE TRYING HELP IS DEAD.

    FOR THE PEOPLE OF PORT HARCOURT, IT IS AN ODD SIGHT TO SEE THESE MEN GENTLY CARRYING FRAIL SKELETONS IN THEIR ARMS. AND THEY CROWD THE ENTRANCE TO THE CLINIC TO WATCH....BUT FEW EVER OFFER HELP.

    WHAT ANGERS THESE MEN EVEN MORE THAN THE APATHY OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE IS THE FACT THAT THEIR CLINIC IS ONLY TWO MILES (APPROX 3.2 KMS) FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL HOTEL, WHERE L7-THOUSANDS STERLING WAS SPENT ON A LAVISH WEDDING RECEPTION FOR THE LOCAL MILITARY GOVERNOR AND HIS BRIDE.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA28QJ6695TJSNQSSQYSZAEX3ZB
    Media URN:
    VLVA28QJ6695TJSNQSSQYSZAEX3ZB
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    23/01/1970
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:01:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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