UMM QASR, Iraq (AP) – The first sizable relief convoy rolled into Iraq yesterday bringing water, tuna, crackers and other food to Iraqis, some of whom cheered as they swarmed allied troops handing out supplies. “Eat, eat!” shouted an Iraqi boy of about 10, pointing to his mouth as the trucks lumbered past.
The relief effort had been delayed for days by a sandstorm, mined waterways and fierce fighting across southern Iraq. Three days after President Bush promised “massive amounts” of humanitarian aid, seven battered tractor-trailers entered Umm Qasr, escorted by U.S. soldiers.
They carried hundreds of cases of water stacked on three of the semis, as well as boxes of tuna, crackers, sweets and other food.
“We planned for 30 trucks but we only got seven loaded because of the severe sandstorm,” said E.J. Russell of the Humanitarian Operations Center, a joint U.S.-Kuwaiti agency. The storm cut visibility to 100 yards.
Iraqi youths cheered and swarmed British troops as they handed out yellow meal packets and bottled water. The troops, already in the city, were not part of the aid convoy.
Two tanker trucks filled with fresh water were mobbed by crowds of Iraqi civilians lugging bottles, jars and other containers.