Pacific Stars & Stripes, Nov. 17, 1953
 

Orphans Face Suffering Unless Aid Comes Soon

 

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Pac. S&S)- One hundred forty orphans in this city are suffering in bitter cold, unheated rooms these frigid nights-members of the Belgian Orphanage and Hospital who may even find themselves without a roof over their heads if the orphanage does not get financial support from someone within less than a month. Moreover, there are 75 patients in the heated but still cold hospital-25 of them suffering with tuberculosis.
 
Unless someone comes to help Director Andre Motte de Falisse, he will definitely have to give up the hospital and perhaps the orphanage.  That would mean that most of his TB patients would have nowhere to go, because, he says, facilities for treating TB in Korea are packed.
 
It takes at least $1,000 a month to run the hospital and orphanage properly, says Falisse.  But he is squeezing by on $700.
 
The young patients aren't getting enough to eat and because he can not afford to buy enough fuel for his two space heaters, they are suffering in the late autumn cold.
 
The children literally do not know where their next meal is coming from.  But, somehow, Falisse and his small staff of Koreans manage to keep them from starving.
 
The orphans range in age from less than a month to 18. Some of the hospital patients are babies; some ancient Koreans who have been there many months, quietly suffering from a variety of diseases.
 
In the rooms where the smaller children live, they sleep two in an Army cot.  Their two to three blankets are not enough in the unheated rooms.
 
One of the prized possessions in both hospital and orphanage is a sleeping bag and there are very few.
 
Most of the kids go to school, but those who don't have to stay in the cold rooms during the day.
 
The hospital patients, many of them bedridden for years, are cared for by two Korean doctors, one a man and the other a woman, and two nurses.
 
The director, who drives himself day and night, explained the 2-year-old orphanage had seen better days when it got help from military units and other organizations.  But for various reasons, this help was withdrawn. Nor has he had any recent offers.
 
A chaplain from the 25th Div. visited him not long ago with some ideas about a Christmas party, but that is all.
 
Falisse said that if he does not get help soon there will not be any children left there to have any Christmas party.
 
He is hoping that some U.N. military unit will "adopt" his establishment.  Under the Armed Forces Assistance Program, he believes there is a chance that some unit will give him support.
 
By S/Sgt. Bob McNeill
 
PSS-314