British forces say they are trying to make the southern Iraqi city of Basra safe so urgently needed humanitarian aid can be distributed there.
More than 60 percent of the population remains without access to clean water since the start of hostilities last week. Engineers from the Red Cross are struggling to restore water supply to the city. The United Nations says tens of thousands of children are at risk of disease.
Humanitarian aid has been waiting in Kuwait and is arriving in the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, but ongoing ground fighting in southern Iraq is preventing its distribution. Basra is also seen as a possible aid corridor for the rest of Iraq.
US and British officials have promised that coalition forces will start delivering the humanitarian supplies this week.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the World Food Program, Trevor Rowe, tells the Associated Press the food agency will seek more than one billion dollars to help feed Iraqi civilians for six months.
The United Nations suspended the oil-for-food program for Iraq before the war, angering Iraqi officials. Iraq has continued to export oil, but exports fell last week to just 25 percent of pre-war levels.
Diplomats at the United Nations are holding talks on Tuesday on restarting the oil-for-food program as soon as possible. Under the program, the United Nations allows Iraq to sell oil to raise money for food, medicine and other humanitarian purposes.