6
Sep
2005

Foreign Office says diplomats denied access

Guardian [UK]

09/06/05

Tony Blair apologised yesterday to Britons who complained of lack of support from the Foreign Office after their Hurricane Katrina ordeal. His comments came as the Foreign Office claimed that British diplomats had been unable to get into New Orleans until Sunday. A spokesman said more than 20 diplomats had been willing to go but requests for permission from the US state department and the Louisiana state government had been repeatedly rebuffed. .... Nine officials from the Foreign Office rapid deployment team had flown to the US on Thursday to support British staff converging on the hurricane-hit area from around the US. "When we were made aware there were Britons in the Superdome, we raised the conditions with the US authorities and not long after that they were moved."
Britons caught up in the hurricane continued to arrive back in the UK yesterday. One family said American police took snapshots of trapped tourists instead of helping them. .... "At one point, there were a load of girls on the roof of the lobby saying 'Can you help us?' and the policemen said 'Show us what you have got' and made signs for them to lift their T-shirts. When they said no, they said 'Fine' and motored off down the road in their motorboat"...

//www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1563466,00.html


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
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