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Bush thanks Canada and the world

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Bush thanks Canada and the world

Canada tops the list for thank-yous from the United States for its response to the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.

President George Bush Friday offered thanks to Canada and other countries for their "outpouring of compassion" and substantial relief for the countless U.S. victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins effusively thanked Canada as well. "The aid pouring from all across Canada has been truly overwhelming," Wilkins said in Vancouver. "Many countries are offering help, nobody more so than Canada...You're at the top of the list and for that we will always be grateful."

President Bush said "I want to thank the world community for its prayers and for the offers of assistance that have come from all around the world." The president listed the aid offered by a host of countries, rich and poor alike. He said even war-torn Afghanistan has pledged $100,000 in aid.

"Canada has sent ships with disaster supplies," Bush said. "Air Canada's planes assisted in the evacuation."

Three Canadian warships - the destroyer HMCS Athabaskan, frigates HMCS Ville de Quebec and HMCS Toronto - and the Coast Guard ship Sir William Alexander left Halifax on Tuesday packed with relief supplies, helicopters to deliver them and about 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel ready for a variety of chores. They are expected to arrive off the U.S. Gulf Coast early next week.

Air Canada provided shuttle flights to help in the evacuation of about 25,000 people from New Orleans to San Antonio, Texas. Air Canada also flew a cargo of bottled water and relief supplies to New Orleans.

Canadian military planes took Canadian Red Cross and government officials to work in the disaster areas. About 35 Canadian military divers are helping with inspecting dikes and clearing waterways. A shipment of supplies requested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has arrived in Atlanta from Canada. Donations are pouring in from the provinces.

The Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue Team worked in St. Bernard Parish, about 30 km east of New Orleans, rescuing 119 stranded people before the U.S. military took over this week. The team's leader Tim Armstrong said, "We were the first relief effort that made their way there."

In Los Angeles, TV news anchor Hal Fishman of KTLA Channel 5 praised Canada's assistance saying "The country has embraced us and offered support on myriad levels." He said other countries have extended aid, but Canada stands above the rest in terms of types of support and the different sectors which have offered help.

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi said, "We actually got utility crews in from Canada."



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go canada! go canada! -dances-

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