In a twist on the usual flow of international aid, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States has received dozens of offers of aid from other countries on six continents and has not rejected any offer.
The State Department released a list of 59 countries and organizations that have made offers since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the South. They include poor countries such as El Salvador, Armenia, the Philippines and India. The list includes countries with which the United States has no relations or poor relations, such as Cuba and Venezuela.
Rice particularly noted that the offers include one from Sri Lanka, which is still recovering from last December's tsunami.
"Recently, we have seen the American people respond generously to help others around the globe during their times of distress, such as during the recent tsunami," Rice said. "Today, we are seeing a similar urgent, warm and compassionate reaction from the international community in response to Katrina."
Rice dismissed charges that Washington's response to Katrina, many of whose victims are black, was inadequate because of racism. "That Americans would somehow in a color-affected way decide who to help and who not to help, I don't believe it," Rice said. "Americans are a very generous people."
-- Robin Wright