BRUSSELS, Belgium – The United States has asked the European Union and NATO (search) for emergency assistance, requesting blankets, first aid kits, water trucks and food for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the two organizations said Sunday.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the 25-nation bloc was "ready to contribute to the U.S. efforts aimed at alleviating the humanitarian crisis" in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — the states hardest hit by Katrina (search).
The 26-nation NATO alliance said it too had received a request for aid from Washington (search). The United States has asked for NATO relief support in the form of food rations for the thousands of people evacuated from New Orleans and other areas, the alliance said in a statement.
It added that a liaison officer was being dispatched to Washington to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"NATO stands ready to continue to support the United States as it recovers from this natural disaster," the alliance said.
NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center was coordinating the alliance's pledges to the American request.
The European Commission said its aid coordination office would manage the aid from European countries and already has drafted a preliminary list of materials, team and equipment being pledged by EU member states.
It said U.S. authorities had requested 500,000 prepared meals, thousands of blankets, first aid kits and several water trucks to provide clean drinking water.
So far, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Finland, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia Sweden, Spain and The Netherlands have pledged aid.
"Specialist teams from several member states are on standby and ready for immediate deployment," the Commission said in a statement.