Armenia Ready to Help Hurricane Victims

President–Spiritual Leaders Send Condolences

(Combined Sources)–Armenia conveyed its readiness to provide assistance to the US Government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian said on Monday that the US Embassy in Armenia would be providing a list of necessary items–and that–"Armenia is ready to provide both financial and professional assistance to the US to the best of its abilities. Rescue teams–physicians–and other specialists will depart from Armenia to the US in case of need." Oskanian said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday that "no aid would be turned down from foreign countries" in assisting residents along the Gulf Coast.

In a letter to US President Bush–Armenian President Robert Kocharian sent condolences on behalf of the Armenian people. "We share your pain and sadness. Please accept? most sincere words of condolence and convey them to the families of those who are suffering. We wish you strength–patience–and courage."

His Holinesses Aram I and Karekin II sent letters to Bush as well–expressing support and condolences to the American people in light of the losses suffered.

In the letter–His Holiness Aram I said that "the tragic images that I see on television are–indeed–disturbing and heartbreaking. This is–in fact–one of the biggest natural disasters in the recent memory of the USA. I share the pain and anxiety of those who have been affected by this disaster."

The Catholicos also informed the president that he has advised the two prelates of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in the United States to encourage Armenian-American communities to actively participate in the post-hurricane humanitarian efforts.

His Holiness Karekin II–Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s–stated "We extend to you–your government and all the people of the United States–the sorrow and sincere condolences of the Armenian Church and all Armenia’s throughout the world. As head of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church–we offer our solemn prayers for eternal rest for all those who perished in this disaster–and solace and comfort to their families and friends. We ask the Almighty to grant recovery to the thousands of afflicted–hurt and homeless families–and strength to you and your government at this difficult time."

Also responding to the hurricane was His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Prelate of Western USA–who sent a solidarity letter to Lousiana state Governor Blanco on the unprecedented event that devastated the whole region.

In his letter–the Prelate expressed his condolences for the human losses–and His Eminence mentioned that he had urged and appealed to the faithful of the churches and parishes to pray for the rest of the souls of the victims–and participate by contributing abundantly to the American Red Cross and the Armenian Relief Society in order to assist the national efforts and help the devastated and most unfortunate families.

On September 4–the Prelate’s appeal and directives circulated to all pastors–churches–and communities of the Western Prelacy inviting–calling and urging them all to contribute generously and assist the relief efforts to reach out to the millions of the affected by this disaster.

Brewing Anger

In Washington–President Bush said he was dispatching Vice President Dick Cheney to the battered Gulf Coast to assess relief efforts.

But local and state officials–particularly in Louisiana–have bitterly criticized what they see as a slow response to the plight of people caught in the disaster.

Appearing on the CBS-TV "Early Show," Aaron Broussard–president of Jefferson Parish just outside New Orleans–remains angry.

"Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area," he said.

"And bureaucracy needs to stand trial before Congress today. So I’m asking Congress–please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don’t give me the same idiot."

Congress has pledged an investigation into the federal response. President Bush likewise promised Tuesday to lead his own investigation to determine–as he put it–"what went right and what went wrong" in the response to Hurricane Katrina.

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