AMMAN, Jordan March 31 —
The first wartime U.N. humanitarian aid, a few truckloads of food
and water, trickled across Iraq's borders from Turkey and Kuwait,
U.N. agencies reported Monday. But officials said aid organizations
and the U.S. military remain wary of working together on relief
operations for Iraq.
Three trucks carrying 84.7 tons of dried milk crossed from Turkey
and were unloaded in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk on Saturday,
the U.N. World Food Program said in a delayed report.
Next, "we're preparing to move badly needed wheat flour later
this week into the north," said Khaled Mansour, regional spokesman
for the U.N. agency in Amman.
He said people in three autonomous Kurdish provinces of the north
are believed to need food more urgently than people in the central
government-controlled remainder of Iraq because they received only a
month's rations before the 12-day-old war began, while Iraqis
elsewhere got two months' rations.
Under U.N. economic sanctions against Iraq, the World Food
Program itself ran a food-rationing program in the north, while the
Baghdad government operated it for the rest of the country.
In far southern Iraq on Monday, the first three vehicles carrying
U.N. water commissioned by the U.N. Children's Fund managed to make
deliveries from Kuwait to the captured city of Umm Qasr, UNICEF
spokesman Geoff Keele reported.
But 10 other water vehicles did not cross from Kuwait, either
because they had incorrect Kuwaiti paperwork or their privately
contracted drivers decided it wasn't safe to travel into war-torn
southern Iraq, Keele said.
Keele also said two UNICEF trucks carrying medical and other
goods have been waiting at the northern border for Turkish
permission to cross into Iraq. Mansour said Saturday's dried-milk
delivery also had been held up for some days, pending Turkish
The greatest obstacle, however, remained the danger of traveling
war-torn Iraq's roads.
Few private aid convoys have ventured into Iraq, but on Monday a
two-truck shipment from private Greek donors carrying 33 tons of
medicine, food, milk and blankets headed for Baghdad from Amman, the
Convoy chief Dr. Demetrius Mognie, an Athens physiologist, said
by mobile phone from the road that he hopes to remain in the Iraqi
capital as the casualty toll mounts. "My specialty is an important
one, and they may need my help there," said Mognie, a member of the
aid group Doctors of the World.
A Jordanian government truck convoy and a private Algerian convoy
crossed into Iraq on Sunday carrying 130 tons of medical
Yet another relief arm the U.S. and British military also
continued deliveries on Monday as they sought to "win hearts and
minds" for their invasion force. British troops delivered water from
a tanker to the people of Zubayr, south of besieged Basra.
Although U.N. aid agencies are in contact with the military
commands in Kuwait, no major progress has been reported toward a
U.N. takeover of relief operations.
"The international people don't want to be associated with the
American invasion, and the military people want to be seen as the
ones helping the Iraqis," one well-placed U.N. official said
privately, reflecting what others also have reported.
The professional aid community has openly disparaged the
military's "back-of-the-truck" aid distribution in southern Iraq,
which ended in televised scenes of chaos and fighting over water and
"Lessons have been learned," U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks
said at Monday's daily U.S. Central Command briefing in Qatar. "We
certainly know how to distribute aid. It's going very well right
|Residents flee Basra, Iraq,
Monday March 31, 2003. British commandos destroyed Iraqi tanks
and seized equipment in a suburb of Basra Sunday. (AP Photo/
Tony Nicoletti, Pool)|
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