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3 relief ships on way from Canada

By Times staff writers
Published September 4, 2005

Canada is sending three warships and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel packed with relief supplies to the U.S. Gulf Coast to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Prime Minister Paul Martin, in a phone call to President Bush, pledged Canada's humanitarian support while expressing the country's condolences.

The ships, which will carry 1,000 personnel, will provide aid, along with divers and engineering expertise for reconstruction. Three helicopters will also be sent to ferry personnel into the devastated areas.

Canada has offered to send everything from water purification systems and medical supplies to the military's Disaster Assistance Response Team.

At factory, group could only watch and hope

Vincent Garofalo, 63, squinted into the sun above the Nola Candle Factory, watching the Blackhawk helicopters buzz overhead.

He's spent the days since Hurricane Katrina at the factory with his 62-year-old sister, Diane, the factory owner, an employee, Mickey Lacoste, 57, and 40,000 pounds of candle wax.

"The hardest part is knowing the city will never be the same again," said Garofalo, a former prizefighter who spent six years as a Bourbon Street bouncer. "I've done things in this city that most other people have only dreamed of doing."

They're surviving on tuna and raisin bran, but food is not their primary concern. Garofalo has cut back to one thyroid pill per day, hoping to make the supply stretch. Lacoste is on methadone and will need a fix soon. Both are diabetic.

There's little to do except watch the gangs of looters roam the neighborhood. For protection, the Garofalos have a Doberman pinscher, two pit bullterriers and three mutts.

Here, just two blocks from the Mississippi River, they have only a small radio to tell of the chaos that surrounds them.

"How many people are dead? Do you know?" asked Diane Garofalo.

She wants to return to the house she's lived in for 55 years, but said she knows there's nothing to return to. She doesn't have enough money to flee New Orleans, and said she doesn't feel up to a long bus trip to Texas.

Diane Garofalo worries about two of her employees who lived in the 9th Ward. Nearly a week, and no word from them. Like so many others, she hasn't bathed. She hasn't eaten a hot meal. She's barely slept. But she will sleep another night, listening to the rats, and take tomorrow as it comes.

"If God wants me to die, he's going to let me die."

Donations sought for storm relief efforts

The St. Pete Times Forum needs pallets, boxes, shrink wrap and trucks to contain and transport donated relief supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims. Potential donors with these items are encouraged to either stop by the Forum or call Mary Milne at (813) 301-6762. Donations will be accepted in the McDonald's Box Office or the Chrysler-Jeep Plaza of the arena, 401 Channelside Drive in Tampa. The site is open 24 hours a day.

Qatar offers $100-million in aid for storm victims

WASHINGTON - Qatar pledged $100-million in humanitarian assistance Saturday to help Americans recover from Hurricane Katrina, heading a list of more than a dozen countries joining an outpouring of support.

They added to the more than 50 countries who had made pledges of help.

The State Department is maintaining a list of countries that have offered assistance, but does not discuss the amount of whether the offers have been accepted.

The $100-million pledge is the largest disclosed so far.

Times correspondent Jim Fox and staff writers Brady Dennis and Carrie Johnson contributed to this report, which also includes information from the Associated Press.

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