Why It Matters
In 1922 the women of the American Women's Hospitals (AWH) were among the first aid groups to establish emergency services on the Greek island of Macronissi to care for the refugees who fled the burning city of Smyrna. Dr. Mabel Elliott used strong language to describe the scale and severity of deprivation affecting the refugees on the island, and to make the case that more Americans needed to get involved to alleviate the suffering. She explained that the AWH is providing medical care to an ever-increasing number of homeless and hungry refugees, almost all women and children, and that many other resources were needed besides medical care if they were to survive. Macronissi had no existing sources of food, shelter, water, or medical care, and the AWH could not provide everything on its own.