CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Humanitarian Aid Making Its Way Into Umm Qasr
Aired March 28, 2003 - 03:29 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now I want to check on the humanitarian aid that is supposed to be making its way into Iraq into the southern port of Umm Qasr. We're getting word that a British relief ship could be making its way into that port as early as an hour-and-a-half from now.
And for more on this ship, that is the Sir Galahad, we're going to bring in our regular guest, who is with us here from the Royal Air Force, Captain Jon Fynes.
Thanks for being with us again.
CAPTAIN JON FYNES, ROYAL AIR FORCE: Good morning.
KAGAN: What do you know about the Sir Galahad as it makes its way into Umm Qasr?
FYNES: Well, it's actually laden with food, medical supplies, water, and as you know, we've been waiting for several days now to bring it in. But the mines have been cleared, and it's on its way.
KAGAN: We're talking about 200 tons of aid, a massive amount, trying to make its way in to the people of Iraq. What about the mines that were discovered in that port? And that was one of the things that was delaying the delivery of this aid.
FYNES: Yes, and very frustrating it was, too, because the mines that were laid were in positions that had no military advantage. So all it did was slow down the humanitarian aid, but that's coming now.
KAGAN: We're seeing in the last 24 hours it's not as simple just as getting the food and the aid to the people of Iraq. There was a scene near Basra yesterday. It turned pretty chaotic as British troops did try to give out some of that aid. Can you tell us about that?
FYNES: Well, it just goes to show how necessary this aid is, and as more aid arrives that original initial sort of panic, overwhelming rush will hopefully die down. But what it will do is show the people of Basra that we're there, we mean business and we're wanting to help them.
KAGAN: But as I understand it, especially near Safwan, an area that's just across the Kuwait border, that turned so chaotic that in some instances people were taking the food, grabbing for the water, but singing out praises for Saddam Hussein. It's not as simple as just getting the aid to those people. FYNES: There's still a great fear of Saddam in the area. He's got a lot of his people around. He's got the irregulars. And nobody is going to be brave enough just yet to say "down with Saddam" in that area.
KAGAN: And finally, we're hearing that President Bush announcing that 130,000 additional U.S. troops will be on their way here to the Persian Gulf. Any additional troops coming from the British?
FYNES: No. We spoke to the British army spokesman before we came on air, and he's more than content that we have enough troops of our own to do the job we've been tasked so far.
KAGAN: So who is here will be here, and that's it from the British.
FYNES: Until something changes, that's our situation.
KAGAN: Captain Jon Fynes from the Royal Air Force, thank you so much.
FYNES: Thank you.
KAGAN: Appreciate it.
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