To the Editors:
This is a distress signal. The urgency is such that we send it, without apology, to all our friends, even to those who have already responded so generously to our appeal of 18th April.
This morning, we received a telephone call from the School of Youth for Social Service on the outskirts of Saigon. We were told that the only change in the situation over the past week has been for the worse. Here is the situation as described on 9th May in a letter which reached us only yesterday:
“For the past three days, American aircraft haven’t stopped dropping Napalm on this district. Rockets, too. And we are under bombardment by heavy artillery (157 n.m.) as well. The civilian population’s housing has been wholly destroyed. We are the refuge of 10,000 people. We dress wounds, deliver babies, turn our hands to whatever seems most urgent at each given moment. The gravely wounded we take on our backs, carrying them several kilometers over fields spattered by rifle-fire, to the main road, where they wait for passing cars who may be willing to take them into Saigon to the General Hospital. (But during actual engagements, no transport is possible.)
“The rice which represented the month’s supply for staff and students was all distributed in a single day.
“The students tear their shirts up for surgical dressings as we have long since run out.
“The battle is raging everywhere—people simply don’t know where to go. In the areas under NLF attack, they barely have time to grab their children and run for it.
“Help us quickly. We are at the end of our resources.”
Contributions may be sent to:
Vietnam Overseas Buddhist Association,
11 rue de Vénus
94 Maisons-Alfort, France.
Vo Van Ai
August 1, 1968