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Russia to send humanitarian aid to U.S. Tuesday


MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said it was hopeful that Russian planes carrying humanitarian aid for people affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans would leave for the United States Tuesday. "I hope the planes will take off tonight," Yuri Brazhnikov, the director of the international department of the ministry, told the radio station Ekho Moskvy.

Brazhnikov said two Il-76 planes had been ready at the Ramenskoye airfield outside Moscow since August 30, but their flight was delayed due to technical problems.

"The U.S. authorities have not yet told us at which airport our planes will be able to land. The Il-76 can land in some places, and in some places, it can't," he said.

The press service for Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said earlier that the first plane would deliver 17 metric tons of humanitarian cargo, including individual food rations and blankets. The second plane, carrying cargo weighing more than 27 tons, will deliver 121 tents that can accommodate 20-30 people each. In all, the Il-76s will be loaded with 18 different types of cargo.

It is also possible that the Emergency Situations Ministry will send another plane to the United States.

Brazhnikov said Russian rescuers would not help victims directly, as the rescue operation was no longer being conducted and army units were already clearing the hurricane damage. Therefore, Russian rescuers hope the U.S. authorities will accept Russia's humanitarian aid.

Brazhnikov said the main problem hampering U.S. efforts in the area was not a lack of resources but rather a lack of organization.

"The U.S. efforts have apparently become disorganized," he said. "They have enough resources, but it is not the resources that do the rescuing. They need organization to mobilize the resources of the whole country. They did not expect a situation of such magnitude."

He also confirmed that all Russians who were in the hurricane zone had been found and rescued.

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