CHICAGO — Iraq will receive help from CARE, the world's largest non-sectarian relief and development organization, to ensure drinking-water supplies and to prevent sanitation-related epidemics, says CARE president Philip Johnston. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society obtained permission for CARE to send a team to assess the amount of assistance needed in Baghdad, where allied bombs destroyed water and sanitation facilities. Mr. Johnston expects water and sanitation problems to be magnified as Iraqi soldiers returning from Kuwait swell the city's population.
Johnston expected the CARE team to depart for Iraq within days, but he said that permission to visit might be revoked if fighting between pro- and anti-Saddam forces becomes widespread.
CARE will not provide assistance to Kuwait, Johnston added, because ``Kuwait in effect has more than enough resources to rebuild its own economy.''
Johnston said that economic sanctions must end before Iraq can earn money to rebuild, but he didn't call for lifting them instantly. Rather, he said, sanctions will be lifted automatically when Iraq fulfills the terms of the UN Security Council resolutions.
Johnston called it ``a considerable surprise'' that only 15,000 refugees fled to Jordan after the war began Jan. 16, compared to expectations of 1 million or to the first wave of several hundred thousand after Kuwait was invaded on Aug. 2.
He said the reason for the small number was subject to conjecture: People were reluctant to travel because the road was under bombardment; Iraq wouldn't give exit visas; allied bombing didn't disrupt civil life much; or the refugees were accommodated elsewhere in Baghdad and Basra.