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Humanitarian Aid in Iraq Progressing - 2003-04-07

Humanitarian aid, especially water and sanitation, is a priority for the United States and for relief organizations in Iraq. The head of the U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team says a humanitarian crisis has not materialized from the war in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean the effort to provide aid is slowing down in any way. Carol Pearson has more.

Scenes like this – people chaotically scrambling to get food – are being replaced with scenes like this: An orderly and organized distribution of food and water. A row of spigots has replaced a single hose from the water truck.

British troops distributed aid on Sunday at the small village of Engabashir. The village is so small it does not appear on any map. But the 200 people who live there had been cut off from the outside world since the rail service stopped two weeks ago. The British forces want to get the railway track operational again so supplies can once again come in by train.

The World Food Program sent its first convoy of trucks delivering food aid to another small town in northern Iraq.

Relief supplies for a million people have been stockpiled in Kuwait, Jordan and other countries in the region. They can be moved into Iraq either by road or air.

Humanitarian aid continues to arrive, although the head of the U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team says most of Iraq is not safe enough for large-scale relief operations.

But small-scale gestures are still welcome. Sometimes a pocketful of candy will win new friends or even just a friendly football game, like this one between British Marines and local Iraqis.