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New Orleans visitor expresses gratitude to Kuwait
PPL-KUWAIT-KRCS-KATRINA
New Orleans visitor expresses gratitude to Kuwait

By Sharooq Sadeqi (with photos) KUWAIT, April 18 (KUNA) -- Dr. Calvin Mackie, member of the Governor of Louisiana's Recovery Authority expressed Tuesday his gratitude to the Kuwaiti people and government and to the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) for their help to the Hurricane Katrina's victims.

During a joint press conference Dr. Mackie held with Vice President of the KRCS Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer at the KRCS headquarter, Dr. Mackie said that "the timing of my first visit to your country is auspicious since it allows me to thank the government of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people for the remarkable generosity they have shown the victims of Hurricane Katrina." Dr. Mackie, also Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tulane University, added, "I know that the Kuwait Ambassador to the US, Sheikh Salem AL-Abdullah Al-Sabah recently mentioned ... the incredible gratitude that the American people have expressed for the donations we have received from Kuwait." He stressed that "as a native of New Orleans, I am particularly moved by the kind gestures of support we have received from your friendly nation and the significant assistance provided by the KRCS." Regarding the status of the victims of the hurricane, Dr. Mackie said that "we are facing severe engineering challenges resulting from this natural disaster which has political, social and economic ramification for the people of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana." e said that Kuwait's donations have "helped ease the suffering and hardships that the people of Louisiana have experienced after Hurricane Katrina," but affirmed that "recovering from this horrendous devastation ... will take time and unswerving commitment to rebuilding our communities." The US official indicated that it will take about 10 years for the entire population of the city to return, here up until the present time only 40 percent of the people have returned.

He stressed that the most important issue being faced now is "housing, housing, housing," adding that the infrastructure has been completely destroyed, where the hospitals, schools, universities and all kinds of services have been destroyed and the entire infrastructure needs repairing.

He affirmed that the money in the state is expected to be completely run out within one to two months.

According to Dr. Mackie, people in the city are working and learning at the same time to prevent such a disaster from re-occurring and that the major thing that is working in the city is the "heart, soul and determination of the people." He indicated that several buildings are back up and running in the city, such as the medical school, hotels, the convention center and several corner shops. For his part, Dr. Al-Sayer welcomed Dr. Mackie in Kuwait, describing him as an "important man and a very impressive personality." He indicated that when he first visited New Orleans there was still little progress due to the severe impact of the disaster.

He stressed that the city was completely devastated especially that the city is below sea level and the whole of the city was under water.

He noted that special concrete is being used for the city to become stronger than the last one and to avoid a similar disaster.

According to Dr. Al-Sayer, the Kuwaiti government's contribution to Hurricane Katrina was the largest from any country.

Dr. Mackie in currently visiting Kuwait in response to an invitation from the US Embassy's Public Affairs Section to represent New Orleans at their National Day celebration.

The American Embassy's theme for this year's celebration is "Mardi Gras" in honor of Kuwait's support towards the Hurricane Katrina Disaster.

Katrina is the most devastating Hurricane to hit the southern Gulf coast, mainly the states of Louisiana, Florida and the Mississippi, in more than 60 years, and by far greater than Hurricane Andrew that was considered the worst Hurricane to hit the US last decade.

In November last year, Al-Sayer presented a check of USD 2.8 million to the American Red Cross Society as a contribution from the "people of Kuwait" to the relief efforts.

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a joint press conference for Dr. Calvin Mackie, member of the Governor of Louisiana's Recovery Authority with Vice President of the KRCS Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer at the KRCS headquarter
a joint press conference for Dr. Calvin Mackie, member of the Governor of Louisiana's Recovery Authority with Vice President of the KRCS Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer at the KRCS headquarter
Dr. Calvin Mackie, member of the Governor of Louisiana's Recovery Authority
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