Freedom Coalition Readies Humanitarian Aid
Sgt. Charles Portman, USMC, AFPS
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar, March 23, 2003 — The
U.S.-led coalition to disarm the Iraqi regime is poised to open
massive channels of humanitarian assistance for the Iraqi people.
Millions of meals, medicines and other supplies
for the Iraqi people are pre-positioned and ready for distribution,
said Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, CENTCOM deputy operations officer,
at a press briefing here March 22.
"Our humanitarian work in Iraq is beginning,"
Brooks said. "We are already preparing to push (the rations)
forward as they are required." He showed a video of a warehouse
stocked full of humanitarian daily rations.
British Royal Marine Lt. Col. Jamie Marton said
the strategic Umm Qasr port in southern Iraq, already secured
by U.S. and British Marines, will ensure the continued flow of
food and humanitarian supplies into Iraq.
"We are working with the international community
to get humanitarian aid where it is needed most," Marton
Initially, officials said coalition forces will
manage and operate the Umm Qasr port with Iraqi civil laborers.
The coalition plans to move humanitarian aid with the U.S. Agency
for International Development and other non- governmental agencies
such as the U.N. World Food Program.
"WFP is gearing up for potentially the largest
humanitarian operation in its history," said agency spokesperson
Khaled Mansour at a March 21 press briefing in Amman, Jordan.
"With the majority of the Iraqi population
set to run out of food in less than six weeks, the cost of covering
their basic food needs could amount to over 1 billion U.S. dollars."
To date, WFP has received about $44 million from
various donors, including $40 million from the United States.
"This has allowed the agency to secure sufficient food to
cover the needs of 2 million people for one month," Mansour
Army Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of Operation
Iraqi Freedom, said one of his military objectives is "to
end sanctions and to immediately deliver humanitarian support
to the displaced, and to many needy Iraqi citizens."
(Gunnery Sgt. Charles Portman is assigned to U.S.