Six French nationals rescued from New Orleans
WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (AFP) - Six French nationals trapped in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina struck were evacuated from the city Saturday and are apparently in good health, French officials said.
Two of those stuck in the flooded city were teachers, who were evacuated by a military aircraft to San Antonio, Texas, according to Brigitte Blain-Pailley, at the French consulate in Houston.
“They told us they had seen other French nationals who had been evacuated from New Orleans, but did not give a number,” the official said.
The teachers were in good health and decided to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, she added.
Four other French nationals made their way to the Louisiana capital of Baton Rouge, said Nathalie Loiseau, spokeswoman at the French embassy in Washington.
“At this point, we have no information about possible French victims,” the embassy official said, adding that about 300 French nationals were being sought in the flooded region at one point, but that the number was constantly changing.
The number was an estimate, she noted but “the lists get bigger and then we realize that some have been located.”
It was not immediately clear whether there were any French injured or dead among the thousands of victims in the region ravaged by Katrina.
Some rescue crews were waving French flags in an effort to locate any French survivors.
But “it’s like finding a needle in a haystack”, Loiseau said.
US president George W Bush has also written to French president Jacques Chirac to thank him for France’s offer of humanitarian aid following Hurricane Katrina, and to wish him a speedy recovery after his recent hospitalisation, the US embassy in Paris said Monday.
The United States has accepted the offer of generators and tents, and discussions are under way to decide how to bring them in, a spokeswoman said
Last Thursday France said it could ship in tents, camp beds, generators and water treatment facilities from French territories in the Caribbean.
For more information on missing French citizens and evacuation efforts:
Ministère des Affaires étrangères: Ouragon Katrina
Subject: French news