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World Offers Aid As A Thank-You

Some of the world's poorest nations — Bangladesh, Afghanistan and tsunami-hit Thailand — have offered the United States aid and expertise to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

While some of these aid pledges were small compared with the millions of dollars and heavy machinery promised by Europe, they come from nations with far less to give and are symbolic recognition of the role U.S. aid has played in their development.

The State Department says it has now received offers of assistance from 94 countries and international organizations, reports CBS News Correspondent Charles Wolfson.

Among the most recent international aid to arrive were three flights of military ready-to-eat meals from Germany, plus a planeload meals and medical supplies from Italy.

Japan doubled its emergency aid to the U.S. Tuesday, to $1 million total.

In addition, The Maldives ($25,000), Albania ($300,000), Ireland ($1 million) and Yemen ($100,000) are pledging funds to the Red Cross, and the Czech Republic plans to send relief supplies and medical teams.

Israeli aid organizations and charities were raising money for hurricane victims, reports CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger.

"This is the time for us to show that we appreciate what the Americans have been doing for Israel and Israelis for so many years," said Nachman Shai, who is heading the project.


CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger reports Israelis are opening their hearts — and their wallets.

Israel is the biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, so people are happy for the opportunity to help, says Berger. Israelis admit that this aid is modest and symbolic, but they say it comes from the heart.

Several countries were releasing oil from their reserves to help bolster supplies cut off by Hurricane Katrina.

Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries, where millions of people live on a monsoon- and flood-prone delta, pledged $1 million to Katrina's victims and offered to send specialist rescuers to inundated areas, the Foreign Ministry said.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said the assistance from Bangladesh — a major recipient of U.S. economic development aid — was "a token of goodwill and sympathy," spokesman Zahirul Haque said late Monday.

Thailand Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkon said his Southeast Asian country would send 60 doctors and nurses and a shipment of rice to the United States.

The assistance is a "gesture from the heart," Kantathi said, adding that Thailand remembers the help it received from the United States after last year's tsunami that left 228,000 dead or missing across 11 Indian Ocean countries. Thailand's death toll was more than 8,000.

Impoverished Afghanistan, which is still struggling to recover from two decades of war that ended when U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in 2001, has pledged $100,000 for Katrina victims, the government announced.

Neighboring Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the international fight against terrorism, has offered doctors and paramedics, and Washington "expressed their appreciation for the offer," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Naeem Khan said.

Some 2,700 Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans were in the regions hit by Katrina, and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington is working with U.S. authorities to provide them with help, Khan said.

In Latin America, Honduras has offered to send 135 flooding and sanitation experts, and Peru has offered to send a medical team of up to 100 members.

A Mexican ship loaded with supplies set sail Monday from the Gulf Coast port of Tampico, and the country has set up consular offices in trailers around the disaster zone to help some of the estimated 140,000 Mexicans who live in the region — including 10,000 in New Orleans.

"Mexico and the United States are nations which are neighbors and friends which should always have solidarity in moments of difficulty," Fox said in a statement.

Even leftist governments often at odds with Washington have offered to chip in. Cuba has offered to send 1,100 doctors and Venezuela offered 1 million barrels of gasoline, $5 million in cash and more than 50 tons of canned food and water.

More traditional, wealthier Asia-Pacific allies also have pledged relief help.

On Tuesday, New Zealand promised $1.4 million in aid and offered to send urban search and rescue specialists and a victim identification team to hurricane-hit states.

Singapore said it sent a fourth military helicopter based in Texas to hard-hit Louisiana, and 45 airmen were participating.

Since the first three CH-47 Chinook helicopters arrived last week, Singaporeans have flown dozens of missions, evacuating several hundred people and transporting thousands of tons of equipment and humanitarian supplies, the Defense Ministry said.

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