The M/V Free Atlas, a cargo vessel carrying 28,000 metric tons of donated American wheat for the people of Iraq, is expected to arrive at the Port of Aqaba on Wednesday, April 30. Upon arrival at the Port of Aqaba, the World Food Program will take custody of the donated wheat for onward transport and distribution in Iraq.
The arrival of the vessel follows shortly the arrival of other shipments of donated American food to the Port of Umm Qasr in Iraq and the Port of Mersin in Turkey. The M/V Free Atlas left Galveston, Texas on April 4, and is carrying wheat grown in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The wheat comes from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, an emergency reserve administered by the US Department of Agriculture.
In March, President Bush authorized the immediate release of 200,000 metric tons of wheat from the Trust with another 400,000 tons to be made available as needed. The wheat aboard the M/V Free Atlas is enough to feed 2.3 million Iraqis for one month.
The shipment aboard the M/V Free Atlas is only a portion of the total food aid the US government is providing to the Iraqi people. The M/V Yellow Rose arrived in Mersin, Turkey, on April 24, with 28,500 metric tons of US hard winter wheat, and the M/V Rise will arrive onApril 30, at the Port of Umm Qasr, with a cargo of locally-procured rice from Pakistan purchased with part of a recent US donation of $200 million to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
In total, the United States is providing up to 590,000 metric tons of food worth $375 million to feed the people of Iraq. A total of $260 million is being provided to the WFP for food procurement, distribution and logistical support. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )