International aid efforts
…. to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina – anyone heard of any such effort(s) underway outside of the US? Just curious.
PM Update: Just read this AP story over at FoxNews:
VIENNA, Austria — From papal prayers to telegrams from China, the world reacted with an outpouring of compassion Wednesday for the victims of Hurricane Katrina messages tinged by shock that a disaster of this scale could occur in the United States.
Islamic extremists rejoiced in America’s misfortune, giving the storm a military rank and declaring in Internet chatter that "Private" Katrina had joined the global jihad, or holy war. With "God’s help," they declared, oil prices would hit $100 a barrel this year.
Venezuela’s government, which has had tense relations with Washington, offered humanitarian aid and fuel if requested.
The storm was seen as an equalizer — proof that any country, weak or strong, can be victimized by a natural disaster. Images of flood-ravaged New Orleans earned particular sympathy in central Europe, where dozens died in raging floodwaters only days ago.
"Nature proved that no matter how rich and economically developed you are, you can’t fight it," says Danut Afasei, a local official in Romania’s Harghita county, where flooding killed 13 people last week.
Throughout Europe, concerned citizens lamented the loss of life and the damage caused to New Orleans, often described as one of North America’s most "European" cities.
French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sent messages of sympathy to President Bush. Chirac, who has famously quarreled with Bush over the Iraq war, addressed this letter, "Dear George."
Pope Benedict XVI said he was praying for victims of the "tragic" hurricane while China’s President Hu Jintao expressed his "belief that that the American people will definitely overcome the natural disaster and rebuild their beautiful homeland."
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II also sent a message to Bush saying she was "deeply shocked and saddened" at the devastation caused by the hurricane and expressing her condolences, "especially to the families of those who have lost their lives, to the injured and to all who have been affected by this terrible disaster."
The U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland — a capital at the foot of the Alps hit by flooding last week — said calls were rushing in from Swiss individuals and institutions looking for a way to donate to relief efforts.
"We are getting calls from the Swiss public looking to express their condolences, (and) people are also asking for an account number where they can make donations," said spokesman Daniel Wendell.
The Internet-edition Vienna daily Der Standard had recorded 820 postings commenting on a front-page story on the hurricane. In one of the postings, signature "Emerald" asked where money could be donated to the victims, but the question sparked a debate about whether a rich country like the United States needed such aid.
Meanwhile, on the homefront:
Artists with ties to America’s Gulf Coast will participate in a live benefit special, "A Concert for Hurricane Relief," to air on Sept. 2 on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC.
(MSNBC is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC.)
Musicians appearing will include Tim McGraw, Harry Connick Jr., and Wynton Marsalis. Non-musical artists, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and others, will also participate. The hour-long music-driven special will air at 8 p.m. ET live on the East Coast, tape-delayed on the West."Today" show host Matt Lauer will host the telethon portion of the programming from NBC’s studios in New York. All viewers will be encouraged to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in support of hurricane relief through its Web site and donation hotline (www.redcross.org or 1-800-HELP NOW).
The fund helps the Red Cross provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those suffering from the hurricane and other disasters.