WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, federal agencies rejected millions of dollars in aid offered by foreign governments, a watchdog group says.
Foreign governments offered more $800 million in assistance, but federal agencies used only a fraction of it because they lacked a system to process the funds, said Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
"I'm afraid the same thing would happen again," said Melanie Sloan, the group's executive director. "It's been nearly two years since Katrina, and still the government doesn't have a mechanism in place to deal with offers of foreign assistance."
Federal agencies also rejected offers by other countries to send medical teams, search-and-rescue units, body bags, bottled water, food, fuel and even rescue dogs from Poland, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Monday.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Disaster Recovery Subcommittee, promised to "get to the bottom of how this administration could so foolishly turn away an outreached hand in a time of such desperate need."