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[casi] 'Aid as a propaganda tool'

Dear list members,

I don't know if the following Reuters story has already been posted to the
list. The quote from Christian Aid re. the Galahad is an excellent rejoinder
to the Sun's sickening coverage (eg. 'Ship, ship hooray',,,2-2003142089,00.html).

Best wishes,

voices uk

Source: Reuters
Date: 28 Mar 2003

Aid groups say military see aid as propaganda tool

By Kate Holton
LONDON, (Reuters) - Relief agencies accused British and U.S. forces on
Friday of being more concerned with food aid as a propaganda tool than
feeding hungry Iraqis.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Save the Children said chaotic
scenes shown on televisions on Wednesday, in which Iraqis scrambled for food
thrown from a truck at Safwan near the border with Kuwait, was an example of
how the provision of aid has become just another tactic in the U.S.-led war
against Iraq.

"What they are doing is not humanitarian aid but a 'hearts and mind'
operation and that is quite different," Save the Children's Director of
Emergencies Lewis Sida told Reuters.

He said humanitarian missions would seek to avoid such high profile
incidents, saying it illustrated that the military did not have the
competence to do aid work and said such operations did not serve the best
interests of the people most in need.

Wednesday's pictures of young men fighting it out with each other to grab
meagre supplies off the backs of trucks also raised concerns at Care
International UK over the plight of those not strong enough to do battle for

"Inevitably the people who need that assistance most are least able to
physically collect it," Care's emergencies advisor Adrian Denyer told

"The most vulnerable and the weakest, the women and children, are a long way
from that truck and it will be the young men who grab the aid and will most
likely sell it rather than distribute it."

Another concern is the amount of food aid that can get through to a country
where 60 percent of the population had been relying on an oil-for-food
programme, which was suspended when the U.S.-led war against Iraq began.

The first ship to bring humanitarian aid since the start of the U.S.-led
invasion was British ship Sir Galahad, which docked at the port of Umm Qasr
on Friday. But its cargo is a drop in the sea of aid which the oil-for-food
programme had provided. "To put it in context, we have been waiting for the
Sir Galahad for days with its 200 tons of food. Under the oil for food
programme ... 16,000 tons a day were supplied, so you are looking at 80 Sir
Galahads a day just to restore the normal supply," Christian Aid spokesman
John Davison told Reuters.

He said aid agencies and the military have had many discussions over several
years about how best to
distribute aid.

The agencies said their experience has taught them that the distribution of
food and supplies must be held at secure warehouses if those most in need
can hope to be fed.

Almost all aid agencies have said southern Iraq is still too dangerous for
civilian relief teams, but they are demanding the U.N. take control of
humanitarian work when the fighting ends.

They say they refuse to work alongside the military because being seen
alongside troops would put their own workers in danger and erode the
confidence of the Iraqi people in them.

On Wednesday, another convoy of Kuwait Red Crescent trucks heading for
Safwan was surrounded by Iraqis fighting for the food packages inside. The
troops accompanying the convoy ordered the aid released for safety reasons.

"The fact that it was chaotic and badly planned and off the back of a truck
illustrates that they (military) do not have the competence to do that,"
Sida said.

A British defence source told Reuters that the military should not accept
blame for Wednesday's chaos and said aid agencies should plan the

"Ships are standing by all over the world to bring aid in but we must be
sure we can effectively distribute it. It needs some planning - but that's
for the aid agencies," said the source on condition of anonymity.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Lewis" <>
To: "CASI Committee" <>;
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 2:21 PM
Subject: [casi] Aid and reconstruction figures

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

I've been trying to put together some figures for various amounts of aid
pledged by various governments.
So far I've got:

1) UK (DfID): 210m pounds
(120m for DfID's work in Iraq 2003/4; 50m for humanitarian agencies; 40m set
aside for further contributions to the immediate humanitarian problem)

2) Australia: 100.5m Australian Dollars
(17.5m for unspecified humanitarian aid; 100,000 tonnes of Australian wheat
at 38m; 45m for handling, processing, distribution)

3) Romania: unknown
Will despatch medical teams, drinking and mineral water, medicine, medical
equipment, foodstuffs, clothing, shoes, and tents

4) USA: 2.4bn US dollars allocated by budget supplemental for both aid and
(Thus far accounted for: 16.3m for stockpiled emergency supplies; 300m for
food purchases; 206m for humanitarian relief organisations via USAID, (of
which?) 60m for WFP logistics, 10m for WHO, 7m for IOM (International
Organisation for migration, 8m for UNICEF water/health/sanitation, ); 600m
for construction contracts, which at present have mainly gone to US
companies with "security clearances") (USAID briefing, 25/03/03)
c9852814c85256cf70059d8d4?OpenDocument (UNDPI humanitarian briefing,

5) European Union: 100m euros
(from Emergency Aid Reserve, 79m of which still awaits approval by European

6) Canada: 100m Canadian dollars
(of which immediate allocation of 20m to CARE Canada, UN agencies and Red

7) Japan: approx. 112.53m US dollars (40bn yen), although most, it seems,
actually to Jordan
(3.3m for emergency medical activities by Japanese NGOs; 5.03m for advance
procurement by UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF; 100m to Jordan to alleviate "economic
impact" of situation in Iraq; 4.2m to Palestinian refugees via UNRWA)

If anyone has any more recent or further information, it'd be very useful.


Mike Lewis
Christ's College
Cambridge CB2 3BU
07712 655130
"We had a great day. We killed a lot of people" - Sergeant Eric Schrumpf,
5th Marine Regiment (NY Times, 28/03/03)
"I'm sorry," the sergeant said. "But the chick was in the way."

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