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30 Tons of Relief Supplies Arrive in Liberia - 2003-08-04

The British-based charity Save the Children has flown 30 tons of relief supplies to Liberia.

Save the Children officials said the shipment that arrived Monday includes food, shelter materials and medical supplies for 50,000 people.

The charity said there are about one million Liberians who have been displaced by the fighting. It says 200,000 of them are crammed into the capital, Monrovia, and about half of those are children.

A spokesman for Save the Children, Brendan Paddy, said there are plans to begin moving supplies from the airport to some of the safe sections of Monrovia on Tuesday. "Well the first thing that we are going to be distributing is the high energy biscuits, which will be taken to kids who are particularly vulnerable, those that have been separated from their families, those in orphanages, etceteras. Also on the flight were essential family survival supplies, things like water purification tablets to make sure people can get clear water and heavy plastic sheeting to protect families from the tropical rain. And the final type of things that we were throwing on that flight were medical supplies, particularly to help treat cholera and diarrhea, which are two of the serious problems facing people at the present," Mr. Paddy said.

Mr. Paddy said, while his organization is focused on humanitarian relief operations, it is also urging the United States to join the international peacekeeping force. "Despite all the signs to the contrary, there are people in the international community who are very concerned about developments there, and we are pushing for a really credible peacekeeping force that everybody, all the armed groups, will have to respect. And we strongly believe that will probably have to include the U.S. Marines, who currently are intending to just simply sit off the coast. We feel they need a hands-on involvement, if this peacekeeping force is really going to have the credibility it will need to make the peace stick," he said.

About 2,000 U.S. Marines are aboard two amphibious assault ships off the Liberian coast. The Bush administration has not yet announced any role for them in the peacekeeping mission.