Washington Slow to Accept International Aid

Thanks Ever So Much: Following Hurricane Katrina, more than 90 countries from around the world have contacted the U.S. government with offers of aid in materials and money, but many are still waiting for a call-back from Washington to accept it. Even countries that can hardly afford to have donated money.

Sri Lanka, among the hardest hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami last December, donated $25,000 to the Red Cross. Afghanistan pledged $100,000 while Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries, offered $1 million.

And while those offers should perhaps be respectfully declined, there’s no good reason why rich countries like India, South Korea, Japan and Germany are still waiting to hear back from the administration about what to send and where to send it.

According to the Associated Press, here’s who’s giving what:

  • India said it would give a $5 million check to the American Red Cross Thursday in Washington, as well as offered to send military medics and water purification equipment.
  • South Korea pledged $30 million and said it would send about 40 rescue workers and 100 tons of goods such as blankets, diapers, crutches, bunk beds and wheelchairs, to the United States by this weekend. If Washington tells where to send it.
  • Japan is in the process of transferring $200,000 to the Red Cross and offered up to $300,000 in supplies such as tents, blankets, generators and portable water tanks, which are stored in Florida, of only Washington would say where to send it.
  • German officials say they have offered a wide range of aid, including search dogs, medical teams and even a military hospital ship, and say much of it has been on standby for delivery since Monday, waiting fro word from Washington.
  • Russia will send an estimated $760,000 worth of humanitarian aid in three planes scheduled to begin leaving Moscow as early as Wednesday for Arkansas, said Sergei Vlasov, spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. That aid includes 121 tents, 4,000 blankets and 10,000 food packages, he said.
  • China delivered a $5 million donation, and a plane carrying 100 tons of tents, bedding and generators for hurricane victims took off Wednesday bound for Little Rock, Ark.

The American Red Cross said on its Web site that, as of Sept. 6, it has received $409.2 million in gifts and pledges for the hurricane relief effort. The organization did not say how much of that came from overseas.


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