The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was very concerned about the situation in the southern Iraqi city of Basra following US-led airstrikes on the strategic city.
"We are very concerned about the situation in Basra," ICRC spokeswoman Nada Doumani told reporters at ICRC headquarters in Geneva.
An Iraqi man carries a child reportedly injured near the southern Iraqi city of Basra as allied forces inched closer to the city, Saturday, March 22, 2003. (AP Photo/Nabil)
"Visibly the bombing during the night was quite violent. We have also heard there are many victims but we cannot confirm a figure," Doumani said.
Most of the relief agency's staff in Basra are engineers dealing with water supply and the agency, which works with the local Red Crescent, said it did not have expatriate medical personnel there to check on conditions at local hospitals.
"We do not have access. Our employees appear to have trouble moving around Basra itself. That is not a good sign," Doumani added.
ICRC engineers have restored some of the city's water supply, which had been cut off, by pumping and treating salt water from the Shatt al Arab waterway, she said, adding that the main water station was just outside the port city.
ICRC staff in Baghdad were checking on casualties in hospitals there following overnight US and British bombardment of the Iraqi capital.
Doumani said contacts were still underway with US and British forces about an unspecified number of Iraqi prisoners of war captured in the south of the country.
© Copyright 2003 AFP