UNITED NATIONS April 10 —
Casting a wary eye at scenes of jubilation and looting in
Baghdad, aid groups warned that Iraq could descend into chaos and
pleaded for help in securing unimpeded access to needy
"The images we see on television today are not very encouraging
in terms of lawlessness in certain parts of the country," Kathleen
Hunt of Care International said Wednesday.
She said humanitarian aid won't get through unless there is
"We need respect for international humanitarian law, we need the
independence to move around and do our assessments and we need
security," she said.
Representatives of several non-governmental organizations,
including Save the Children and Amnesty International, expressed
their concerns at a forum Wednesday with members of the U.N.
Aid representatives welcomed assurances of safe passage from U.S.
Ambassador John Negroponte, but many insisted that the role of
coalition troops in humanitarian and reconstruction efforts should
Negroponte told reporters that security in Iraq will improve as
the remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime are stamped out.
"As coalition presence increases in that country and as the level
of resistance from Iraqi forces declines, the security situation
should improve and it should be easier for these agencies to operate
in various parts of Iraq," he said.
Pakistan's U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram, said food supplies for
many families in Iraq would last two or three weeks at most, and
that electrical problems were threatening water purification
The United Nations says about $720 million in relief supplies are
on trucks and ships bound for Iraq, but it still needs $2.2 billion
in emergency funds.
In an effort to speed aid to Iraq, the Security Council
authorized U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to review nearly $16
billion in contracts approved under the oil-for-food program and
give priority to those that could be used immediately for
The U.N. program, established after the 1991 Gulf War, uses
Iraq's oil revenues primarily to pay for food and medical
|Iraqi volunteers work with
Kuwaiti volunteers to help unload water for Iraqi citizens
near Najaf Tuesday, April 8, 2003. Reports say international
relief shipments are being delayed by the unstable situation
in Iraq. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Arlo K.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or