It's ironic that Americans give millions of tax dollars away each year in foreign aid. However, when Katrina struck and thousands of our residents needed help, our federal government was slow in accepting offers of help from other countries. Also some of the help extended by our friends overseas was allowed to spoil and never be used.
One report says Italy donated thousands of dollars in medical supplies but the medicine spoiled by being left in the elements.
The government of Greece offered two cruise ships to help house local residents who lost their homes. However, the US government turned them down and instead spent nearly $250 million of our tax dollars with another cruise line.
Our friends in Kuwait offered $100 million in cash and $400 million in oil. Our government ended up accepting about $50 million of the $500 million offered.
One high ranking US official said our country is not used to fielding offers of foreign aid. No doubt many residents here on the coast and our neighbors in Louisiana could have benefited from some of the generosity that our federal government turned away.
This is just the latest example of why our federal government needs to rethink how it handles national disasters. There were plenty of countries willing to help, but our federal government failed us in not accepting this aid.
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