French response to Hurricane Katrina
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France was one of the first nations to offer aid to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On August 31, French officials expressed their condolences to their American counterparts: President Jacques Chirac wrote a letter to President George W. Bush, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Douste-Blazy, wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The U.S. federal government refused French assistance initially, but on September 2, Rice said that the U.S. authorities would assess the situation and contact French authorities accordingly. On September 4, French assistance was formally requested. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered its disaster relief stocks located in the Martinique, including 600 tents, around 1000 beds, 60 electrogenic groups, three pumps, three water purification stations, 1000 folding jerry cans, and other supplies.
A 35-man team of the Sécurité Civile from Guadeloupe and Martinique were ready, including 11 hurricane specialists, and a 60-man "catastrophe intervention" airmobile detachment could be ferried from mainland in a short time. These men are of the Ministry of the Interior.
The Ministry of Defence offered two planes already in the hurricane zone, and six more from mainland France, two ships of the French Navy (probably the BATRAL Francis Garnier or Champlain, and the frigate Ventôse) and a 20-man emergency medical team.
The non-governmental organisation Télécoms Sans Frontières and the company Véolia Environnement have offered their services in communications and water management, respectively. The French Red Cross has put 12 logisticians at the disposal of the American Red Cross.
Planes were ready from September 5, but take-off was delayed by a few dozen hours because the U.S. authorities did not provide information about where they wanted aid to arrive. The French ambassador in Washington, D.C. insisted that this information be given as soon as possible  and the French Embassy issued a number of press releases  and a list of governmental and private efforts (PDF).
On September 7, an Airbus Beluga from Toulouse with 12.7 tonnes of material (notably nine tents (25m2 each), 50 tents (4x4m each), 40 cover rollers and 170 8x12m covers, 300 folding jerricanes, kitchen sets) flew to Mobile, after a brief stop in Britain to load more food. 2 CASA airplanes from Martinique landed in Little Rock the same day, ferrying tents, covers and 1000 rations of food for one day. The equipment was ferried on roads.   
On September 8, further requirements were issued by the USA for divers and forensic experts.
On the 21 October 2005, US authorities formally thanked French officers with a reception given at the US embassy in Paris .
French victims of Katrina
As of September 9, no French citizen was reported killed by the hurricane. Assistance was given by the team of the consulate of New Orleans to 40 French citizens.
Two missions were working:
- One mission from Atlanta was working in Biloxi, Gulfport and Mobile, visiting homes to locate French citizens.
- Another was in New Orleans, attempting to contact any French citizen still there.
- (French) Lettre du Président de la République adressée au Président des Etats-Unis
- Condolence letter from President Jacques Chirac to President George W. Bush
- (French) Press release from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 5th
- Press release from the French Ministry of Defence, September 6th