Global Policy Forum

More Humanitarian Supplies Reach Iraq


June 9, 1998

United Nations, Xinhua - Improved arrangements under the oil-for-food program for Iraq are facilitating the delivery of more humanitarian supplies to the country, but problems still remain, according to a new report of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan released here Tuesday.

The report showed a general increase in the range and volume of humanitarian supplies reaching Iraq, but supplies continue to be erratic. The secretary-general expressed concern that the full "food basket" was only delivered once to the Iraq's people, and called for further coordination between the government and the United Nations to ensure that humanitarian aid applications are processed in order of priority.

Annan also expressed serious concern that a recent survey carried out by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program showed "no measurable difference" in the nutrition status of children under five compared with the previous year. Over 30 percent of all children in that age group were found to be suffering from chronic malnutrition, 3.1 percent from acute malnutrition, and 15 percent were underweight.

There is positive news in the medical sector, with more drugs arriving in Iraq'a three northern governorates, according to the report. However, the secretary-general noted that health centers, which have to respond to a disproportionate share of emergency cases, are not always fully staffed or supplied.

"To date, observers have reported that most items were not available in adequate quantities, so that patients were left either without prescribed medicines or, worse, only part of the recommended treatment." Annan said in the report.

Serious problems also prevail in the water and sanitation sector, according to the report. "The very poor condition of the water network, which suffers from frequent breaks and leaks, especially in southern Iraq, can result in contamination after disinfection of the water, which reduces the efficiency of the service."

Although supplies are arriving more quickly in the education sector, shortages remain serious, the secretary-general reported. Supplies such as school furniture and textbooks are falling far short of needs, and the report warned that school desks and textbooks may not be available for distribution at the start of the next school year.

More Information on Iraq Sanctions


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.