Sat, Sep 03, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Nations rich and poor rally to aid of Katrina's victims

CNA AND AP , TAIPEI AND COLOMBO, SRI LANKA

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has expressed his sincere condolences and sympathy to US President George W. Bush for the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) yesterday said the government will make a donation of US$2 million to the US.

"We believe the re-construction will be completed soon under the lead of the US President Bush and we hope the residents can return to normal as soon as possible," he said.

According to the ministry, no casualties involving Taiwanese expatriates have so far been reported, although some expatriates' homes have been destroyed. The ministry has mobilized Taiwanese associations and non-government charities such as the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation's US branches, to offer emergency aid to affected Taiwanese expatriates, ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said.

Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific nations -- including tsunami-battered Sri Lanka -- promised yesterday to send money and disaster relief experts to the US to help deal with the aftermath of Katrina.

"There should not be an assumption that because America is the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, this isn't a major challenge and a major crisis," Australian Prime Minister John Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

Australia topped the list of those in the region who pledged aid, with a promise of A$10 million (US$7.6 million) to the American Red Cross. Japan and Singapore were also quick to promise help.

Venezuela offered humanitarian aid and fuel. Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp pledged a US$1 million donation for hurricane aid.

Israel has offered hundreds of doctors, trauma experts and other medical staff as well as field hospitals and other relief. Other offers came from Russia, Canada, France and many other countries.

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