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Water for Iraqis as aid effort presses on

Iraqis in Umm Qasr gathered by UK and US troops around a water tanker as a major coalition humanitarian aid effort got underway.

world Updated: Mar 29, 2003 15:05 IST

Around 100 Iraqis in this captured southern port town gathered by British and American troops around a water tanker on Saturday as a major coalition humanitarian aid effort got underway.

The water truck, which arrived from Kuwait, pulled into a small walled compound and opened the tap so that the civilians carrying plastic containers could press forward and fill up.

Captain Nick Manfield, the British officer supervising the distribution, said British troops holding the town had been organising such efforts for the last two to three days and were ensuruing the local hospital had a full supply of water.

"These people have been repressed and now hopefully they can lead a normal life which they couldn't before because they were living in fear," Manfield said.

The daily distribution of water took place as troops unloaded 800 tons of urgent humanitarian aid that arrived on Friday aboard the British naval landing ship Sir Galahad.

Drinking water was the principal necessity brought in on the British ship, which carried around one million litres of bottled water.

Much of the cargo was supplied by Kuwait.

British troops are also hoping to start pumping water up from Kuwait through a pipeline built by British military engineers.

First Published: Mar 29, 2003 15:05 IST