QUESTION: What is UNHCR's proposed contribution to the aid effort in the Gulf States affected by Hurricane Katrina?
On Friday 2 September, High Commissioner António Guterres sent a letter to President Bush expressing his deep sadness at the appalling difficulties faced by the people and communities of the Gulf Coast of the United States in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. UNHCR has also been in contact with the US Ambassador in Geneva to reiterate our offer to stand ready to support the relief effort in any way we can, as part of a broader UN response. Within this response, UNHCR has already begun the immediate deployment of two staff members from our emergency response section. These staff are tasked with assisting in the coordination of relief efforts and one of them will be based in the newly created US coordination centre in Arlington (Virginia). Two Emergency Response Teams (comprising a total of twelve staff members) are also on standby and ready to be deployed. We have also offered to put our relief items at the disposal of the US authorities. As you know, we have emergency stockpiles in various parts of the world with a variety of relief items and if there's anything that could be of assistance to US authorities, we will do our best to provide.