Concentration Camps (continued)



A memorial slab dedicated to the women and children who died in the Winburg Concentration Camp - Women's Memorial, Bloemfontein

Children who were under six years of age received 0,5 lb of meal daily, 1/2 meat twice weekly, 1/4 tin of milk daily, 1 oz sugar daily and 1/2 oz of salt daily. This very poor diet led to the rapid spread of diseases such as whooping cough, measles, typhoid fever, diphtheria, diarrhoea and dysentery, especially amongst the children.

There was a chronic shortage of both medical supplies and medical staff. Eventually 26 370 women and children (81% were children) died in the concentration camps.

The visit of the British humanitarian, Miss Emily Hobhouse, a delegate of the South African Women and Children's Distress Fund to the camps in the southern Orange Free State led to an improvement in the conditions.

On her return to Britain the story she told of the conditions under which the women and children had to live shocked everyone not committed to believe in the inevibility of the war and the harsh measures that was to end it.

Her fifteen page report to the Committee of the Distress Fund was first circulated to MP's and published in late June. From August to December 1901 the Fawcett Commssion visited the different camps and presented their report in December confirming in all essentials the accuracy of Emily Hobhouse's account.