The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/Hunger is general in Austria
HUNGER IS GENERAL IN AUSTRIA.
It seems inconceivable that Austria can get through the winter without starvation. Items that one gathers at random from the German and Bohemian papers of Austria make it appear that the privations of the people must be near the limit of human endurance.
There is Hungary, for instance, jealously guarding every bit of food for its own consumption. Only a very small part of the harvest of the rich Hungarian plains has been allowed to go into Austria and Germany. Budapest is not far from Vienna, and since the Hungarian capital enjoyed comparative plenty, rich people of Vienna moved over there or sent their families to Pest. This suited the Magyars at first, as it meant an influx of money. But now the Hungarian government seems to think that the country has no food to spare for aliens, even though they be subjects of Charles like themselves. The crops this year being especially disappointing, an order has been issued by the Hungarian minister of the interior that all aliens who have not a permanent occupation in Budapest should leave the city in fourteen days, while all residents of Galicia and Bukovina, that is Jews, must leave even if they have steady work. Another symptom of Hungarian shortage is the prohibition of export of vegetables which up to now could be sold freely to Austria. If Bohemia could dispose of its food stuffs as Hungary does, no one in Bohemia and Moravia would go hungry, while Vienna would starve.
In Brno, the capital of Moravia, potatoes were again to be had in September after a period of several months. But more as curiosity than food, for no one could get more than 1 kg. (2.4 lbs.) for two weeks. In Prague women stand in front of bakery shops from 10 o’clock at night to make sure that their tickets and money would get them some bread in the morning. In Pardubice, the chief city of Eastern Bohemia, people get only half the food that their cards call for.
As a result of insufficient nutrition the death rate is rising constantly. In Prague it was 13.90 in 1914; two years later it was 15.29, and in the last year it has grown much more rapidly. Statistics up to the end of August, 1917, give the number of deaths for the eight months as 2706, while in the corresponding period of the preceding year the number was only 2240, when the population was greater. The death rate from consumption has increased from 18.21% of the total deaths to 24.48%. The greatest danger of today is the increasing epidemic of the “hunger typhus”. People die, because they are too weak to fight disease.