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India Offers Assistance for victims of Hurricane Katrina

Washington, DC
September 4, 2005 (Revised)

India’s Ambassador to the United States, Ronen Sen, made the following statement.

“ The Government and the people of India have watched with deep shock and sadness, the death and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States. Having ourselves experienced the tsunami tragedy last year, we can understand the sufferings of the people affected by this natural calamity. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. The people of India stand in solidarity and sympathy with them in these trying times.

The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and, the President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam have written to President Bush conveying their deep sympathy. External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh has sent a message of condolence to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Defense Minster Pranab Mukherjee has also written to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

We recall the very close cooperation between India and the United States, to provide succour and support to the tsunami affected countries in the Indian Ocean region. The Indian and US Navies had worked in close cooperation during that disaster, although India itself was one of the affected nations.

On July 18, 2005, President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had jointly launched the U.S.-India Disaster Relief Initiative (DRI) to strengthen cooperation to prepare for and conduct disaster relief operations and to assist in capacity building in other countries. 

As a token of the support of the people and Government of India for the people and Government of the United States, India will contribute US Dollars 5 million to the American Red Cross for relief activities in those areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. 

In addition, India has offered large water purification systems for household and community level operations, and to donate essential medicines that may be required. India has the largest number of pharmaceutical companies recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration in any country outside the United States.

A self-sustaining and self-supporting medical team from the Indian Army Medical Corps, including a surgeon, an anesthetist, doctors, nurses and para-medics who have had first hand experience in handling such situations, are ready to fly into the affected region in an Indian Air Force aircraft immediately, subject to U.S. clearance. The team will have its own medical equipment and stores. It is aimed to complement the efforts of U.S. organizations, will not require any additional logistic support and will not in any manner strain existing resources.

A Naval unit comprising of 8 divers and 12 salvage experts are also ready to proceed to the US as soon as required. All that is needed is the necessary clearances..

I have sent letters of sympathy and support to the Governors, Senators and Representatives of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Georgia, as also the Mayor of New Orleans. I have also conveyed our admiration at the remarkable support and succour extended by the State of Texas to the vast numbers of those who survived this terrible tragedy who have found shelter in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.”