9/14/2005

While Imelda Rice shopped for shoes

International aid waits for U.S. - Many countries await go-ahead
September 08. 2005 8:00AM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - For four days, a C-130 transport plane ready to lift supplies to Katrina victims has stood idle at an air base in Sweden. The aid includes a water purification system that may be urgently needed amid signs deadly diseases could be spreading through fetid pools in New Orleans.

The one thing that stands in the way of takeoff? Approval by U.S. officials.

Although some foreign aid is on the way to the U.S., many international donors are complaining of frustration that bureaucratic entanglements are hindering shipments to the United States.

"We have to get some kind of signal (from the U.S.) in the next few days," said Karin Viklund of the Swedish Rescue Services Agency. "We really hope we will get it."Aside from water purification units, the country has offered blankets and mobile network equipment.

The United States has accepted offers of nearly $1 billion in assistance from some 95 countries, said Harry Thomas., the State Department's executive secretary. One of those rejected came from Iran. The U.S. has accepted Switzerland's offer for tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, bedding, crutches. It made the offer Tuesday night.

International aid waits for U.S. - Concord Monitor Online - Concord, NH 03301

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