Qatar offers $100 million (Ђ79.74 million) in hurricane aid

Qatar pledged $100 million (Ђ79.74 million) in humanitarian assistance Saturday to help Americans recover from Hurricane Katrina, heading a list of more than a dozen countries joining an outpouring of support.

They added to the more than 50 countries who had made pledges by the end of the day Friday.

"In these difficult circumstances, the people and the government of the state of Qatar would like to assure the people of the United States of its support and desire to assist the people in the affected area along the United States Gulf Coast," said a statement from the oil-rich Persian Gulf state's embassy.

"Please accept our solidarity as well as our heartfelt condolences for the tragic loss of so many precious lives," the statement said.

The State Department is maintaining a list of countries that have offered assistance, but does not discuss the amount of whether they officers have been formally accepted.

The $100 million (Ђ79.74 million) pledge from Qatar is the largest disclosed so far. Earlier offers have covered a range from Saudi Arabia to tiny Dominica, and have included Cuba and Venezuela.

"I hope that will remind Americans that we are all part of the same community," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday as offers kept pouring in.

She said no offers have been turned down, but that some were being taken up immediately and others "somewhat later," depending on the needs on the ground.

Rice singled out Sri Lanka for praise for making a contribution even as it struggles to recover from the tsunami and earthquake disaster of last December.

And she said contributions from poor countries were being accepted because "it is very valuable for people being able to give to each other and to be able to do so without a sense of means."

Among the countries notifying the State Department on Saturday of their intention to contribute were Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Others joining the list were Argentina, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania and Tunisia.

By Friday, offers had been received from Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belgium, Britain, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Georgia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates, AP reported.

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