Sun Sep 4, 6:08 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States officially asked for emergency aid from the
European Union and accepted assistance from the
United Nations, as countries around the world pledged help for the hundreds of thousands left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.
President George W. Bush initially politely refused offers of aid, the White House reversed course as the magnitude of the destruction wreaked across an area of the US Gulf Coast the size of Great Britain became clear.
From London to Kuwait City to Manila, governments around the world pledged help in the form of money, food, emergency workers and oil supplies.
Some countries suffering major problems of their own, among them Indonesia and
Afghanistan, were among those lining up to offer help to the nation that is the world's largest donor of aid.
Washington has asked the 25-member EU for aid in the form of blankets, medicines, water and half a million food rations, the
European Commission said in a statement.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said France would send its entire stock of emergency supplies, including tents, blankets, cooking equipment and camp-beds, prepositioned on the French Caribbean island of Martinique for just such an eventuality. Douste-Blazy said one shipment would leave from Fort-de-France within 24 hours and another within 48 hours.