U.S. Declines Some Foreign Offers of Hurricane Aid; Domestic Medical Personnel Seen as Sufficient

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Kralev, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The United States has accepted help from about 40 countries for the victims of Hurricane Katrina - fewer than half of those that offered - including high-speed water pumps, food, cruise ships and more than $400 million in cash, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Although no offer has been rejected officially, proposals from Cuba and other countries to send doctors or nurses have not been accepted because there is enough U.S. medical personnel to deal with the crisis for now, the State Department said.

"There's been a robust response from the American medical community in terms of medical supplies, in terms of medical professionals, doctors, nurses, as well as public health officials," spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

A senior State Department official added: "We have the people we need right now, and we have more in the pipeline."

A Belgian offer to send medical teams to assist the American Red Cross was accepted, but they include only logistical personnel, U.S. officials said.

The State Department sent a cable to U.S. embassies around the world over the weekend with what one diplomat in Europe described as a "generic list" of needs that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had identified as top priorities.

The list did not include medical professionals, diplomats in Washington and overseas said.

"The cable said that interested governments should let us know what from the list they can provide," the U.S. diplomat in Europe said. …