UN aid programme identifies a further $60 million in priority deliveries for Iraq

UN aid programme identifies a further $60 million in priority deliveries for Iraq

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The United Nations office overseeing the humanitarian Oil-for-Food programme said today it had identified a further $60 million worth of supplies that can be shipped to Iraq within the 45-day timeline adopted last month by the Security Council, bringing the total to $454.6 million.

Most of these supplies, covered by 160 contracts, are in the food ($236.4 million), electricity ($119.3 million) and health ($53.1 million) sectors and are already in transit to Iraq, the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) said in a statement.

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 and other UN agencies and programmes are continuing to identify the most easily accessible priority items in the pipeline and negotiate with suppliers to speed the shipment of supplies under already approved contracts, the statement said.

A Security Council committee has given the Oil-for-Food programme approval to contract for dredging equipment valued at $19.7 million to deepen waterways to Um Qasr and other Iraqi ports, the OIP added.