Offers Of Help Pour In

As dust settled over the ruins of New York's World Trade Center and U.S. airspace reopened, offers of help for the victims of America's worst terrorist attacks poured in from around the globe.

Although the United States has not publicly accepted any international assistance, foreign governments, aid agencies and corporations were eager to join the search and rescue effort, and to provide support for survivors and families of the victims.

Some flights into the United States resumed Thursday, clearing the way for help to arrive from overseas. For some, it was a chance to repay past American kindness.

Turkey's civilian search and rescue group, AKUT, assembled a 12-member team to assist the relief efforts, its chairman Nasuh Mahruki said Thursday.

The United States donated millions of dollars to Turkey in 1999, after earthquakes killed at least 18,000 people. AKUT played a key role in efforts to rescue people from collapsed buildings.

The Dalai Lama donated $30,000 to the relief effort on behalf of the Tibetan people. The exiled Buddhist leader, who relies heavily on private U.S. support, said in a statement Thursday that the money was a "symbolic gesture of our solidarity with the people of
New York City."

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In the hours after Tuesday's attacks, the European Commission - the head office of the European Union - offered help from its civil protection unit. A Belgian team, including burn specialists and experts in victim identification, was flown to Iceland to await instructions from the United States, the commission said in a statement.

Teams from France, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Finland and the Netherlands also were ready to help.

"The European Union's network of disaster experts is mobilized and ready to provide help to the United States and the victims on the ground, if they need it," EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem said.

Britain, which fears hundreds of its citizens are buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center, said Friday it was sending a police team to help identify British victims. National branches of the Red Cross and Salvation Army were accepting donations for the relief effort.

Germany has offered medicaevacuation planes. Other nations, including Norway and Japan, also have expressed a desire to help.

In the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat donated blood for U.S. victims joining a global effort to boost blood supplies. Red Cross branches in several countries have opened their supplies.

Foreign corporations, particularly from Germany, have emerged as some of the strongest supporters of the relief effort.

German-American automaker DaimlerChrysler AG said it would donate $10 million for the children of World Trade Center victims and set up accounts in both countries for individual donations.

German insurance giant Allianz AG plans a $1 million relief fund. The company has predicted that it could face claims of up to $637 million in the disaster. Media giant Bertelsmann AG promised $2 million to families of New York firefighters and police officers killed in the attacks.

Canadian banks have also launched relief drives. Bank of Montreal launched a $1 million fund-raising campaign, which it seeded with a $500,000 donation. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has given $100,000 to the American Red Cross.

Some countries have offered economic assurances as many Americans, fearing the turmoil in New York City and Washington could spread, rushed to stock up on gasoline and emergency supplies.

As oil prices soared following the suicide strikes, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries quickly said it would do what it could to maintain stable oil prices.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has had a rocky relationship with Washington, reiterated that OPEC member Venezuela would do "everything possible" to guarantee a supply of oil to the United States.

By Chris Fontaine
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