Blair offers help U.S. in aftermath of Katrina

British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday said his country was saddened by the devastation wrought in the United States by Hurricane Katrina and would help the U.S. in its recovery efforts.

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"The whole of this country feels for the people afflicted," he told reporters and others at a meeting where he planned to announce measures aimed at curbing anti-social behavior. "We want to express our sympathy and our solidarity and give our prayers and thoughts."

Blair did not say what sort of help Britain would provide if it were asked for by the United States, reports the AP

According to Washington Post, Ray Nagin, mayor of heavily damaged by the hurricane New Orlean, said yesterday that Katrina killed "most likely thousands" of people. That would make the hurricane the deadliest U.S. storm since one that swept through Galveston, Texas, in 1900, killing an estimated 8,000 to 12,000. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire killed 5,000 to 6,000.

Katrina also killed people in Mississippi, where the cities of Gulfport and Biloxi were nearly destroyed.

The U.S. Congress will curtail its annual vacation to discuss hurricane aid. Bush will ask Congress for $10.5 billion in emergency spending, Republicans familiar with the plan said.

The government has declared a disaster area for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that the White House says equals 90,000 square miles, about the size of the state of Michigan. About $2 billion has already been spent or obligated to contractors in the emergency response, Chertoff said today.

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