Albania Pledges Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

07/09/2005

Albania's new government, led by Sali Berisha, has joined the list of nations around the world that have offered assistance to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

By Erlis Selimaj for Southeast European Times in Tirana -- 07/09/05

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Breaches in its levee system led to the flooding of nearly the entire city of New Orleans. [AFP]

The newly announced cabinet of Albanian Prime Minister-designate Sali Berisha has pledged nearly 240,000 euros to help with relief efforts in the United States following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The country has also offered to send a group of doctors and nurses to assist the victims.

"Albania is joining the other countries in the world … to help the United States cope with the situation, in these days of grief, as thousands of people lost their lives," Berisha said, describing the aid as an act of solidarity between Albania and the United States.

"We are close to a great and friendly nation, which has helped us in our most difficult moments, and still will continue to support us. The amount is symbolic, but we express our readiness to assist the people in the areas of the Katrina catastrophe," said the new Minister of Health, Maksim Cikuli.

Berisha, whose Democratic Party won the 3 July parliamentary elections, was formally nominated as prime minister Saturday (3 September), after the Central Election Commission released the final election results. On Monday, he announced the members of his proposed coalition cabinet.

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Hurricane Katrina, the third strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States, devastated the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. It is believed to have killed thousands of people and displaced millions since coming ashore in Biloxi, Mississippi on 29 August. Breaches in the levee system protecting New Orleans led to the flooding of almost the entire city and forced its total evacuation.

According to the US State Department, 94 countries and international organisations have pledged assistance.

Meanwhile, the government of Kosovo announced it would send 400,000 euros as part of a financial aid package to assist the Katrina victims. The decision was made during a cabinet meeting in Pristina, headed by Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi.

"This is a symbolic amount Kosovo is offering to the people of the United States, affected by the impact of Hurricane Katrina. This decision is taken as a sign of respect for the United States. Kosovo will never forget the support it had and still has from the United States," Kosumi said.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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