American and other evacuees from Kuwait who arrived in Britain on an Iraqi jet say food and medical supplies are running short in Kuwait, garbage is piled in the streets and rats are a growing problem.
A total of 416 evacuees, many of them women and children, arrived on an Iraqi Airways Boeing 747 at Gatwick Airport outside London shortly before midnight.A State Department spokesman in Washington said they included 110 Americans, accompanied by about 200 of their foreign-born family members.
The spokesman said the Americans and their family members, who spent the night in hotels in and around Gatwick, were flying to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Thursday on another plane chartered by the U.S. government.
The British Press Association said Iraqis heading home from Britain were due to join the Iraqi Airways plane at Gatwick for its return flight to Baghdad.
Among those escaping Kuwait was a man who would only give his name as Hassan, who said he was from Salt Lake City and had lived in Kuwait for the past three years.
He said: "Conditions are terrible there. Food and medicine are scarce. There is almost nothing. We have got water but that is about all.
"Kuwait City is dirty. Sickness will probably spread very quickly if nobody cleans the town. Right now they are burning the garbage but the rats are getting really bad."
He added: "Kuwait this morning (Wednesday) was calm but we have heard firing, especially at night."
Heidi Hadi from Layton, Utah, who said she had lived in Kuwait for five years, arrived at Gatwick with her 11-month-old son Abdullah. She said her Kuwaiti husband, who worked for the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry, was still there.
"They (the Iraqis) have burned and stolen everything," she said. "They have raped young Kuwaiti girls as young as 14, 15 and 16."
She said Kuwaiti resistance fighters included both men and women, but she said the numbers involved in the fighting against Iraqi troops following the Aug. 2 invasion were small.
She said some Iraqi soldiers felt guilty about being in Kuwait. "There are Iraqis not happy to be there. (These) soldiers, they cry, they grab children and say, `You look like my daughter. I want to go home. I don't want to be here.' "