Food running out in northern Iraq
A spokesman for Save the Children has said that people are running out of food in northern Iraq, and need large-scale distribution from the U.N. World Food Programme.
Although the northern enclave has been controlled by autonomous Kurdish authorities since 1991, and enjoys slightly better living conditions than central and southern regions, usual food aid routes from the south have been largely cut off by the U.S.-led attack on the Baghdad government.
Speaking to AlertNet from Arbil in northern Iraq, Save the Children Brendan Paddy said; "Like everybody else in Iraq, people here are hard hit by food rations being cut."
He said preliminary observations by Save the Children had found that one in five people had no food stocks at all, and were surviving on a day-to-day basis.
An extra two to three months of food rations were distributed in March, but Paddy said the rations had always been inadequate, and many items had been missing.
Most significantly, he said that wheatflour - a staple food - had not been included in the ration since March.
"That doesn't completely undermine it, but it does limit it," he said.
Many people have apparently sold their food rations to buy plastic sheeting to cover their houses. "They were worried about chemical attacks," he said.