***scroll down for updates***
United Nations Undersecretary-General Jan Egeland–yeah, the same jerk who called America “stingy” during the Indonesian tsunami disaster last year–has come around to offering the U.N.’s help to victims of Hurricane Katrina (hat tip: Catez Stevens, who has more):
United Nations Undersecretary-General Jan Egeland, who oversaw relief efforts after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, offered Washington U.N. assistance in a formal letter to new U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.
“The United Nations stands ready to help with any kind of disaster expertise that might be required … in full recognition that the United States is the country in the world that possesses the greatest civilian and military search and rescue and recovery assets themselves,” Egeland told Reuters in an interview.
He said U.S. officials had thanked the U.N. for its offer, but had not requested any assistance so far.
This is also worth noting, since so many readers have been wondering:
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said earlier on Wednesday 10 to 12 foreign governments have offered general assistance to the United States to deal with the hurricane aftermath but no decision had been made about how these offers might be used.
Would be nice to know which 10-12, wouldn’t it?
If British Prime Minister Tony Blair had not been vacationing in the Caribbean yesterday, it seems a safe bet he would have announced to the world that Britain feels deep sympathy for its freshly wounded ally, the United States.
He might have been wrong.
In fact, to judge by the reaction of some Londoners yesterday to Katrina’s rising death toll, Britons seem to feel the United States is overdrawn on sympathy…
When bombers struck London’s transport system on July 7, Mr. Bush stood respectfully behind Mr. Blair for a news conference at the G8 summit in Scotland. It was a pose that spoke to the special relationship the countries share as fiercely principled allies in an unpopular war.
In the days that followed, the floral tributes that piled up in Tavistock Square and King’s Cross came in large part from tourists, especially Americans. The scene was much the same that day at the British embassy in Washington, D.C., where one man carried a sign saying, “Today We Are All British.”
And yet yesterday, as London’s afternoon tabloids told of 55 dead and counting — almost exactly the July 7 death toll — there was not a tribute to be found.
At St. Paul’s Cathedral, a meagre stream of tourists passed without stopping through the American Memorial Chapel, leaving votive candles unlit.
Grosvenor Square in tony Mayfair was full of people enjoying a hot August sun, but there were no flowers at the foot of Roosevelt’s statue. And at the U.S. embassy, the metal fencing was completely empty of condolence cards…
Like I said: Sheesh.
Hat tip: Orbusmax.
More snittiness…from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Pat Robertson was off-base, but not by much.
9/1 11am EDT update: Fausta at the BadHairBlog finds out some of the countries who’ve offered aid.
Marc Landers is tracking the response from private citizens and corporations in Europe.