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  Soldiers hand out rations to Iraqi kids
Updated 12 April 2003, 14.56
An Iraqi child receives food
Ryan Dilley
For CBBC Newsround Online in Southern Iraq

Even the basic rations carried by British and American soldiers are full of exotic treats for the Iraqi children who have lived their entire lives under economic restrictions on their country by the UN.

Cakes and sweets

Swarming around military patrols is now a daily routine for many Iraqi children hoping to supplement their small meals.

Iraqi kids receive food
Iraqi kids receive food
The US Army's MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) packs are particularly popular with young Iraqis. Every one of the sealed bags contains what British soldiers enviously call Gucci - things like a slice of cake and a bag of sweets.

Many of these soon find their way into the stomachs of local children.

Heat

With every passing day it's getting hotter in Iraq. In this heat the orange juice and milk cartons carried by troops are particularly prized items.

Drinking water no longer seems to be in such short supply in towns such as Safwan, but these drinks containers are seemingly hoarded by the people who get them.

Safety

Kids playing in the street
Kids playing in the street
Handouts from the back of a jeep, though appreciated, are not the best or safest way to help young Iraqis.

Some children risk death by darting between fast-moving military convoys, while others lose out becuase it's hard to distribute the rations equally..

More InfoBORDER=0
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