The United Nations office overseeing the humanitarian Oil-for-Food programme said today it had so far identified $395 million worth of supplies that are "shippable" within the 45-day timeline adopted last month by the Security Council.
The Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) said it continued to race against the clock, together with six UN agencies and organizations, to identify priority items specified by the Council - food, medicines, health supplies, water and sanitation equipment and supplies - that can be extracted from the pipeline and shipped by 12 May as required in resolution 1472 (2003).
The Oil-for-Food programme, which allowed Iraq to use part of its oil revenues to buy humanitarian supplies and on which 60 per cent of the population depend as its sole source for rations, was temporarily halted on 17 March after the withdrawal of all UN staff from Iraq on the eve of hostilities. The Security Council adopted a new resolution on 28 March giving Secretary-General Kofi Annan more authority to administer the operation for the next 45 days, including prioritizing deliveries.
The OIP said most of the priority goods confirmed with 137 suppliers were in the food ($181.7 million), agriculture ($103.8 million) and health ($46.1 million) sectors. Most were already in transit at the onset of the war and would be routed to strategic locations in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait and Iran for transhipment to Iraq.