New Zealand sends condolences to United StatesPrime Minister
Prime Minister Helen Clark sent condolences on behalf of the New Zealand Government today, to the United States in response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Helen Clark said that the extent of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina has wreaked on so many peoples’ lives is shocking.
"I have sent a message to President Bush expressing New Zealanders’ sympathy for all those so badly affected. Although extensive relief operations are already underway in the United States, I have told the President that we are ready to offer assistance, if needed," Helen Clark said.
The death toll from Hurricane Katrina is over 100 and looks set to rise. Hundreds of homes, businesses and other buildings have been swept away and there is considerable damage to telephone lines, power lines and roads.
Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has also sent a message of sympathy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
New Zealanders wishing to make donations to the relief effort can do so through the American Red Cross website (www.redcross.org).
The New Zealand Embassy in Washington has been monitoring the situation and there have been no reports of New Zealand casualties. The US Department of State advises that some phone lines are working but are experiencing heavy call volume. New Zealanders concerned about friends and family in the area are advised to try making contact by phone, email or other means. If they cannot make contact they are advised to call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade phone (04) 439 8000.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (www.fema.gov) and the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) both have web sites available that contain information on the current conditions in the region.