April 17, 2003 - New Haven Register: RPCV Congressman Shays enters Iraq with aid workers

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: April 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: April 17, 2003 - New Haven Register: RPCV Congressman Shays enters Iraq with aid workers

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, April 25, 2003 - 9:39 am: Edit Post

RPCV Congressman Shays enters Iraq with aid workers

RPCV Congressman Shays enters Iraq with aid workers

Shays enters Iraq with aid workers
Associated Press April 17, 2003
Bucking protests from the U.S. military and the State Department, Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., crossed over the Kuwait border into Iraq Wednesday and complained that humanitarian aid isnít getting to the Iraqi people fast enough.
Shays, the first member of Congress to get into the war-torn country, traveled across the border with a convoy of aid workers from the Connecticut-based charity Save the Children. But other U.S. lawmakers meeting with military leaders in Kuwait were told they could not go, Shays said in a call from Kuwait.

Aid organizations are frustrated, he said, because they are being curtailed by the military because of security concerns, and their access to the needy residents of Iraq has been limited to just one community, Umm Qasr.

"When I get back, I am going to have hearings on how we are engaging the (aid organizations)," said Shays, who is vice chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. "Danger is part of their job. They know how to deal with it, and they are ready and willing to do it. I think they need to be engaged a bit more."

Shays spent most of the day in Umm Qasr, a small seaport community on the Persian Gulf. It is the only Iraqi town open to humanitarian groups.

Save the Children President Charles MacCormack said workers are anxious to get to work.

"We have every reason to believe that children and families are facing very tough times," he said. "I canít speak for the military people. They have a job to do and they donít want to create any unnecessary risks. But if journalists are able to go in, why not the humanitarians?"

Save the Children workers have been going into Iraq for about 10 days and are concentrating on getting propane cooking fuel to residents in Umm Qasr. They are hoping to send representatives to Basra on Saturday.

©New Haven Register 2003

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Story Source: New Haven Register

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Fiji; Iraq



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