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Words in the News
Wednesday 16 April 2003
Iraq humanitarian crisis
Soldier and boy in Basra The commander of British forces in Iraq has denied reports of a developing humanitarian crisis in areas under British control. This report from Rupert Wingfield-Hayes:
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General Brims was adamant. There is no humanitarian crisis in Basra, he said. People have enough to eat and water and electricity is being restored to more parts of the city by the day. If there is a crisis, he said, it is of a society deeply traumatised by twenty years of abuse at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime, and that, thanks to the British troops, he said, has been stopped.

He did agree that there are some black spots, in particular with providing clean water, and at the city's hospitals, many of which are completely without medicines. But he again said the old regime was to blame for the situation, not British forces.

Nevertheless, out on the streets of Basra, there is growing impatience with the speed of change, or rather the lack of it. Faces that a week ago smiled in welcome are now turning increasingly surly. Such impatience may be unfair, but if they hope to win the peace, coalition forces are going to have to move fast to do something tangible to improve the lives of people here.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC, Basra
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determined not to change his mind
humanitarian crisis
a serious situation affecting the health and well-being of the population
deeply traumatised
extremely upset by an event or situation
at the hands of
committed by
thanks to
if something happens thanks to another person or thing, that person or thing caused it to happen
black spots
dangerous areas
to blame
responsible for
to move fast
to act quickly
something that can be easily seen or noticed
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