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Asian Nations Offer Aid for US Hurricane Relief

Nations in the Asia-Pacific region are promising aid to help the emergency relief efforts in the southern United States devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

From Sri Lanka to Japan, pledges of assistance are pouring in for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, overwhelmed by what could turn out to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Japan, a frequent victim of typhoons and earthquakes, is promising aid from both the public and private sector. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda on Friday said the government will send both money and relief supplies.

Mr. Hosoda says the government will donate $200,000 to the American Red Cross. It will also supply $300,000 worth of generators, blankets, tents and water tanks.

Automaker Toyota is pledging $5 million to the Red Cross while Nissan is promising up to $1 million to the same agency and will donate 50 large pickup trucks to the state of Mississippi. Honda says it will give an unspecified number of engines for police rescue boats.

One of the largest packages of foreign government assistance is coming from Australia. Prime Minister John Howard is promising more than $7.5 million for the American Red Cross. The country is also planning to send a team of 20 disaster experts.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul says the South Korean government and many South Koreans have offered a range of aid, including the offer of search and rescue help and cash donations.

Singapore is dispatching several helicopters and about 40 military personnel, who currently are training in Texas, to help with emergency work in Louisiana.

Taiwan is pledging $2 million to the relief effort.

Some of Asia's less privileged countries, which were victims of last December's massive tsunami, are planning to assist in other ways.

Sri Lanka is urging physicians born in the country and who now live in the United States to volunteer to treat hurricane victims.

Government officials in Indonesia and Thailand, also hard hit by the tsunami, say they are trying to determine how they can best offer help.