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22 April 2003

Weekly Update

12-18 April 2003

Value of “Shippable” Priority Items for Iraq Under Resolution 1472 (2003) Reaches $455 million  

The value of priority goods and supplies that can be shipped to Iraq from the Oil-for-Food pipeline within the 12 May timeline offered by Security Council resolution 1472 (2003) reached $454.6 million this week. 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. Resolution 1472 (2003) of 28 March gives the Programme a 45-day window for shipping priority items identified as food, medicines, health supplies and water and sanitation supplies.   

The Office of the Iraq Programme and 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. 

Executive Director to Brief Security Council

Mr. Benon V. Sevan, Executive Director of the Oil-for-Food Programme, will brief members of the Security Council on progress under Resolution 1472 at informal consultations this afternoon. 

Dredging Equipment Approved for Iraqi Ports

The Security Council Sanctions Committee has given the Oil-for-Food Programme approval to contract for dredging equipment valued at $19.7 million to deepen waterways to Umm Qasr and other Iraqi ports. The equipment includes two dredgers and spare parts to recommission six others. The dredgers will be used to clear silt from the entry channels and main berths to Umm Qasr, Basrah and Khor El Zabair. Heavy silting already places significant limits on the size of vessels that can dock and could seriously hamper attempts to deliver humanitarian aid. 

(*) UN agencies and programmes actively involved in the review of the Oil-for-Food pipeline are: FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP.  

Humanitarian Team on Standby

A team of 31 UN international staff remain on standby for re-entry to northern Iraq. Plans to re-enter the country have been on hold since 14 April because the group has been unable to get flight clearance through the main air corridor. Alternative routes and means of transport into the north of the country are being investigated. The team, representing UN agencies and organizations that were implementing the Oil-for-Food Programme in the three northern governorates before the war, are intended to be the first to re-enter Iraq since the withdrawal of all UN international staff for security reasons one day before the war.


Food Shipments

Food shipments into Iraq continue through Turkey from the north and from Jordan in the west, but the tonnage is well below the needs of a population likely to face severe household shortages by the end of the month. The World Food Programme has been managing convoys, assessing storage facilities and arranging for mills to grind wheat shipments into flour. Prior to the war, the Oil-for-Food Programme was providing 460,000 metric tons of food rations monthly. Every resident in the country (27 million people) received the rations and 60 per cent of the population was totally dependent on them.


Schools reopen in north

Schools have reopened in the three northern governorates but remain closed in the centre and south of the country. The Programme is funding water and sanitation repairs at the northern schools which were occupied by internally displaced families at the onset of the war.



The mapping of minefields and mine clearance operations are continuing in the north under an Oil-for-Food initiative implemented by the UNOPS Mine Action Programme.  Between 18 March and 15 April, 29 teams conducted Mine Risk Education programmes for school children and communities in Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah and marked minefields in the vicinity of 20 villages. 


Financial Status of Oil-for-Food Programme


The Oil-for-Food Programme currently has $3.2 billion in uncommitted funds in its escrow account and some $10 billion worth of humanitarian goods and supplies in the production and delivery pipeline for Iraq. Approved but unfunded contracts total about $7 billion.

Additional information is available from the website of the Office of the Iraq Programme. For further information please contact Ian Steele email: steelei@un.org