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"Offers of Aid Immediate, but U.S. Approval Delayed for Days"

WaPo:

Offers of foreign aid worth tens of millions of dollars -- including a Swedish water purification system, a German cellular telephone network and two Canadian rescue ships -- have been delayed for days awaiting review by backlogged federal agencies, according to European diplomats and information collected by the State Department.
Since Hurricane Katrina, more than 90 countries and international organizations offered to assist in recovery efforts for the flood-stricken region, but nearly all endeavors remained mired yesterday in bureaucratic entanglements, in most cases, at the Federal Emergency Management Agency...
..."There has been that common thought that because [offers of aid] are not tapped immediately, they're not prudently used," [FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule] said. "We are pulling everything into a centralized database. We are trying not to suck everything in all at once, whether we need it or not..."
...In an open letter released yesterday, though, Ambassador John Bruton, head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States, wrote:
"Perhaps one of those lessons will be that rugged individualism is not always enough in such a crisis, particularly if an individual does not have the material and psychological means to escape the fury of a hurricane in time..."

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