Australia Announces More Humanitarian Aid for Iraq

AP Wire Service

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Amid warnings of a looming humanitarian crisis, Australia announced Saturday it would significantly increase its aid to Iraq.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said his government would donate $50 million to a United Nations appeal for Iraq, adding to the $10.5 million Australia has already sent through U.N. agencies and aid groups.

The announcement came as humanitarian supplies arrived in the allied-controlled Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr, and as the U.N. approved plans to restart Iraq’s oil-for-food program once hostilities subside.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Brigadier Mike Hannan said at a briefing that there have so far been no casualties among the 2,000 troops Australia has contributed to the U.S.-led coalition.

Australia has sent mine clearance divers, air force pilots and special forces commandos to help in the war effort.