First aid shipment docks at Umm Qasr

28 March 2003
The first aid shipment arrived in Iraq on 28 March, when the UK ship Sir Galahad docked at the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. The arrival had been delayed several times due to the time taken to secure the town, bad weather and the need to clear mines from the harbour. Heavily-armed helicopters and a mine-sweeper accompanied the vessel, which is carrying 650 tonnes of food, drinking water and medicine. Aid agencies have been warning of the looming humanitarian crisis in Iraq, particularly in the south-eastern city of Basra, where people are already suffering from shortages of food and water. An aid convoy from the Kuwaiti Red Cross on 26 March was described by the organisation's vice-chairman Hilal al-Sayer as 'a disaster' because it was mobbed before arriving at the farms for which it was headed (MEED 27:3:03).

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