SLOVAKIA will answer the United States' call for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by delivering two truckloads of relief supplies to a collection facility in Europe. The facility will likely be an American military base in Germany.
The US is reeling after Hurricane Katrina hit the country's southern states. So far, 90,000 square miles has been declared a disaster zone. Dozens of cities have been destroyed; 13 US states are operating under a state of emergency. New Orleans, a major metropolis in Louisiana, is under water.
The Interior Ministry filled two lorries with disinfectant, cleaning supplies, rags, sleeping bags, camping beds and hygienic supplies for children. The ministry says it is ready to deploy rescue workers and specialists into the affected areas if and when needed.
Slovak policemen were deployed to Phuket Island in January of this year after a tsunami devastated southern Thailand, among other Asian countries.
US Ambassador Rodolphe Vallee told The Slovak Spectator that the US "appreciates and is touched by the sincere expression of compassion and support shown by the Slovak government and private citizens in response to the tragic effects of Hurricane Katrina".
Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan sent a telegram of condolence to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing sympathy for the human casualties and material damages incurred, the Slovak Foreign Ministry informed.
At a September 2 press conference, Rice said, "I have encouraged [concerned foreign diplomats] to urge their citizens to donate to Katrina relief through the Red Cross."
Donations could be crucial in efforts to save lives. Around 10,000 people are feared dead in Louisiana.
Sixty nations have offered assistance, in addition to the United Nations, NATO and the World Health Organization. Nearly 100,000 people are trying to track missing friends and family through a website hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Slovak Red Cross is collecting donations from individuals and business to help support relief efforts. Those interested in showing solidarity can donate by contacting:
VÚB a.s Bratislava
12. Sep 2005 at 0:00 | Magdalena MacLeod