Published September 01, 2005
WASHINGTON – In a turnabout, the United States is now on the receiving end of help from around the world as some two dozen countries offer post-hurricane assistance.
Venezuela, a target of frequent criticism by the Bush administration, offered humanitarian aid and fuel. Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. (search) pledged a $1 million donation for hurricane aid.
The United Nations informed U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton (search) it was prepared to support the relief effort "in any way possible." Under Secretary-General Jan Egeland (search) said his office had offered the services of the U.N.'s disaster assistance and coordination teams to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (search) sent a letter to President Bush offering hundreds of doctors, nurses, technicians and other experts in trauma, natural disasters and public health.
"We also offer field hospitals, medical kits and equipment for temporary housing, reinforcement for hospitals, or any assistance that you may require," Sharon wrote.
He said the teams and equipment could be ready in 24 hours.
With offers from the four corners of the globe pouring in, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (search) has decided "no offer that can help alleviate the suffering of the people in the afflicted area will be refused," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.
However, in Moscow, a Russian official said the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency had rejected a Russian offer to dispatch rescue teams and other aid.
On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin sent condolences to Bush and said Russia was prepared to help if asked.
Boats, aircraft, tents, blankets, generators, cash assistance and medical teams have been offered to the U.S. government in Washington or in embassies overseas.
Offers have been received from Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, NATO and the Organization of American States, the spokesman said.
Also, the Singapore embassy said the Southeast Asian country was sending three Chinook helicopters with 38 air force personnel from military exercises in Texas, to Louisiana to support relief efforts by the Texas National Guard.
President Chandrika Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, in China on a state visit, sent messages of sympathy to Washington while her government contributed $25,000 through the American Red Cross.
Still, Bush told ABC-TV: "I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we hadn't asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country's going to rise up and take care of it."
"You know," he said, "we would love help, but we're going to take care of our own business as well, and there's no doubt in my mind we'll succeed. And there's no doubt in my mind, as I sit here talking to you, that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city."
Historically, the United States provides assistance to other countries experiencing earthquakes, floods and other disasters.
Germany, which was rebuilt after World War II largely by the U.S. Marshall Plan, offered its help in a telephone call to Rice.
"The German Government is prepared to do all that is humanly possible," the German embassy said. In his call, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer assured Rice of Germany's solidarity with its American friends in a difficult time, the embassy said.
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon called Wednesday at the State Department to offer condolences and assistance. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid, about $2.2 billion a year.
"The hearts and prayers of Israel's people are with the people of the United States and the many millions who are suffering in the regional devastation resulting from hurricane Katrina," the Israeli embassy said in a statement.