Monday, April 07, 2003

The only other piece mentioning aid in the April 1 NY Times was "Water Starts to Flow, but Thirst and Anger Rise in the South," by Craig S. Smith in Umm Qasr, on page B11.

"Men and women walking along the dusty roads of this dry corner of Iraq greet the American and British soldiers rumbling past on war machines with a silent toast, lifting an invisible bottle to their mouths in a plea for water.

"Everyone, it seems, is thirsty.

"But the taps have been dry since the United States-led invasion began 12 days ago, and the trucks that once delivered drinking water from Basra, a city now besieged by British forces, have stopped arriving."

Farther down, Smith reports: "On Sunday, British soldiers completed a short pipeline from a Kuwaiti water main to a pumping station a few hundred feet inside Iraq. The line, which fills a stream of Iraqi water trucks with 550,000 gallons of water a day, is the first step in bringing water back to the region.

"It effectively ties the Iraqis of Umm Qasr, now disconnected from the water supply controlled by Mr. Hussein's government, to a supply controlled by the United States-led coalition."

Also, "After another British officer told reporters that the coalition was not charging Iraqis for the water, Ali al-Mumin, a retired Kuwaiti general and director of the government's Humanitarian Organization Committee, spoke up to say that 'while the Iraqis are getting this water for free, we are paying for it.'

"In fact, many Iraqis are, too. British officers conceded that despite their efforts to prevent extortion, some of the truckers filling up with free water were selling it for about $68 per gallon."