Questions remain over lack of UN role in humanitarian aid in Iraq

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 05 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:729
  1. Sally Hargreaves
  1. London

    As the first deliveries of humanitarian aid arrived overland from Kuwait at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr last week, aid agencies questioned why the United Nations was not more involved in coordinating the humanitarian relief effort and postwar reconstruction. The supplies of food and water were distributed by British troops amid angry mob scenes by the local population.

    “We have learned from other conflicts that the UN has got to take the coordinating role in humanitarian relief efforts,” a spokesperson from Care International told the BMJ. She added that now, and in the long term, “We would be unhappy working under the military to distribute aid.”

    Leading aid agencies said that the military cannot provide impartial humanitarian assistance on the basis of need. The agencies have called on the United Nations, which pulled out of …

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