FACTBOX-World lines up to help after Katrina
Sun Sep 4, 2005 7:21 AM ET

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Hurricane Katrina has devastated New Orleans and U.S. Gulf Coast states, killing hundreds of people and possibly thousands, and drawing support pledges from rich and poor, traditional friends and foes of the United States.

The State Department or country officials have said offers of help had been received from: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, China, Columbia, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

International organisations and religious institutions also offered help ranging from medical teams to tents to cash donations. They include NATO, the Organisation of American States, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Socities and Cor Unum, the Vatican's central charity organisation.

A State Department official said a needs assessment was being done to determine which offers would be accepted.

The United Nations has offered to help coordinate international relief.
Following is a list of some of the aid offered by governments.


AUSTRALIA: "We're going to provide A$10 million and the bulk of that money, if not all of it, will go to the American Red Cross," said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

CHINA: China offered $5 million in aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina which devastated the Gulf Coast ahead of President Hu Jintao's U.S. visit. If needed, the Chinese government is also prepared to send rescue workers, including medical experts, officials said.

JAPAN: Will provide $200,000 to the American Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. Japan will also identify needs in affected regions via the U.S. government and will provide up to $300,000 in emergency supplies if it receives requests for such assistance, the ministry said.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces, responding to requests by the United States Texas Army National Guard, has sent three Chinook helicopters to Fort Polk, Louisiana, to help in relief efforts. The government said the Chinooks will help to ferry supplies and undertake airlift missions.
SOUTH KOREA: Has pledged aid and is waiting for a U.S. response, a government official said. "We have sent our intention to offer recovery aid," a Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.

SRI LANKA: Will donate $25,000 to the American Red Cross.


CANADA: Offered to help in any way it can and the navy is preparing a ship full of emergency disaster relief supplies to be sent when a request comes.

CUBA: Cuban President Fidel Castro offered to fly 1,100 doctors to Houston with 26 tonnes of medicine to treat victims.

MEXICO: Is sending 15 truckloads of water, food and medical supplies via Texas and the Mexican navy has offered to send two ships, two helicopters and 15 amphibious vehicles.

VENEZUELA: President Hugo Chavez, a vocal critic of the United States, offered to send cheap fuel, humanitarian aid and relief workers to the disaster area.


EUROPEAN UNION: EU countries are ready to give the United States oil if it requests help, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said. But British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said this was not what the EU had in mind when it discussed how to help.

FRANCE: Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said France was ready to offer help, telling TF1 television: "We have rescue teams based in the Caribbean and we are naturally ready to provide aid to the Americans, and that is what we have told them."

GERMANY: A German Army Airbus plane landed in Florida on Saturday with 10 tonnes of food rations to be transported to the disaster area; a second plane was being prepared, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.

ITALY: Has offered to send aid and evacuation specialists, Italy's civil protection unit said. Authorities have prepared two military transport planes to fly amphibious vessels, pumps, generators, tents and personnel to New Orleans and other areas. They were awaiting word from U.S. officials, the unit said.

NETHERLANDS: Will provide teams for inspecting dykes and for identifying victims if there is a formal request from the United States. It will also send a frigate from Curacao to New Orleans shortly to provide emergency assistance, the government said.

RUSSIA: Has offered to help with rescue efforts, but is still awaiting a reply from Washington. "Above all with heavy transport planes, which can be loaded with helicopters and generators -- as there is no electricity in the area of the catastrophe," Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

SPAIN: Expects to receive a formal request to release gasoline stocks to the United States and is prepared to grant it, an Industry Ministry spokesman said.

SWEDEN: The Rescue Authority said it was on stand-by to supply water purifying equipment, healthcare supplies and emergency shelters if needed.


IRAN: Offers to send humanitarian aid to a country that has labelled Iran part of the "axis of evil". "The victims have complained about the lack of timely assistance and we are prepared to send our contributions to the people through the Red Crescent," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.

ISRAEL: Sending health and defence officials to the U.S. to help coordinate aid. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his cabinet: "I would like to point out that the United States has stood with us during difficult days and it is our duty to assist in the areas in which we are able to help."

QATAR: Pledged $100 million in aid to the disaster victims, the official QNA news agency reported.

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Refining, a Houston-based subsidiary of state oil firm Saudi Aramco, will donate $5 million to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina.


RED CROSS/RED CRESCENT: The Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crecent Societies is sending some 80 disaster experts from more than 10 countries in response to a call from the American Red Cross. They will support volunteers providing food and shelter, the Federation said.

COR UNUM: Pope Benedict announced he had asked the Vatican's central charity organisation, Cor Unum, to coordinate Catholic aid for hurricane victims. "We have all been pained in the last few days by the disaster caused by the hurricane in the United States of America, particularly in New Orleans," Benedict said. (For more news about emergency relief visit Reuters AlertNet email:; +44 207 542 2432) (Compiled by Matthew Bigg in London)


The above list speaks for itself - or is Africa being deliberately overlooked ?

I did read about a $1 million donation by Nigeria the other day - and maybe something from South Africa - but whatever be the case, African countries should step up and be counted among the donors to this Katrina crisis.

I also believe that many of us complain about racism too much without doing enough by ourselves: we inadvertently promote a "dependency" theory.

That is why I support the Relief Fund effort, and hope that in the next few days, NIDO (Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization) can announce a permanent NIDO(-like) Charity fund or foundation for Nigerians to contribute to in order to be able to respond to things like this specifically on behalf of Nigerians in the Diaspora.

I am sometimes tired of armchair complaints.

Bolaji Aluko