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Government Says Others Have Sent Aid, but not America

January 24, 1990

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Europeans and even poor countries have sent aid since Romania’s revolution, but not the United States, the new government says. The U.S. Embassy said American help has arrived, but quietly.

″The Americans said they would give us some help, but nothing has come; we are still waiting,″ said Ion Radulescu, who organizes distribution of foreign aid for the interim National Salvation Front government.

In response, Embassy spokeswoman Agota Kuperman said Tuesday: ″The problem is that we didn’t put red, white and blue flags on it. We didn’t come in with a fanfare. We did it very quietly and that might have been a mistake.

She said the United States gave ″$500,000 worth of aid″ to the International Committee of the Red Cross for Romania.

A tour of Bucharest’s main exhibition center, which has become a depot for supplies donated from abroad, revealed little from the United States.

Daniela Calota, who works for the government pharmaceutical office and was helping sort medical aid, said only three large trucks of U.S. supplies had arrived in the month since dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown.

The only U.S. goods in the hall set aside for medicine were cartons of saline solution from the Feed The Children charity based in Oklahoma and some U.S.-made disposable syringes from an unknown donor.

Cartons of drugs and medical supplies from China, Thailand, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, the U.N. Children’s Fund and virtually all East and West European countries were in separate piles on the floor of the cavernous, freezing building.

Mrs. Calota picked up two packs of German bandages in old brown wrappers with the expiration dates June 29, 1938, and Nov. 25, 1942, which had arrived in one shipment. ″Bandages from the Third Reich,″ she said. ″It’s amazing.″

She displayed boxes of antibiotics from Iran dated 1970 to 1973 and picked up one of a dozen canvas stretchers. ″This kind of stretcher is from the Second World War,″ she said.

An X-ray machine from the Hospital Broussais in Paris stood in the hall. ″It’s very old and it’s a problem,″ she said.

Asked what the government would do with the old drugs and bandages, she said: ″We’ll put it on the fire. It’s dangerous. We made a revolution ... and we are poor, but don’t give us what you are throwing away.

″With the exception of the shipment from Iran, all the medicine is very good, and we need it because we have problems to eliminate from 10 to 15 years ago, not just from now,″ she said.

Radulescu said ″we don’t want to make a fuss″ about the out-of-date material. ″There have been some problems,″ he said, ″but in general the medicine we received is good, new, and it’s helping a lot.″

France was the first and largest donor, he said, followed by Belgium; the Netherlands; West Germany; Italy; the Moldavian region of the Soviet Union, which has a large Romanian population; Hungary; Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

West Germany is providing 350 megawatts of electricity daily for two months without charge and the 12-nation European Economic Community is giving 250,000 tons of animal fodder, 10,000 tons of butter, 20,000 tons of beef and 5,000 tons of cooking oil, he said.

Romania still urgently needs food and fodder, along with medicine and medical equipment ″to maintain minimum standards of the hospitals and clinics.″ Radulescu said.

Mrs. Calota said the greatest need in medical supplies was for disinfectant, surgical instruments and drugs for heart and liver ailments.

Nicolae Constantinescu of the Ministry of Commerce was overseeing soldiers and workers who separated news shipments in the main exhibition hall.

He said part was going to poor people, part to those who suffered from the revolution and part to families with more than five children. New clothing was being given to stores for public sale, he said.

″Maybe you can help us with soap, toothpaste, razor blades and all cosmetics for men and women, because we have none,″ Constantinescu said. ″We need cooking oil and flour. All people want to make bread in the houses, but we haven’t flour.″

Basketball is the third most popular sport in Romania, ″but we have no shoes,″ he said. ″The balls we imported from China, but now we have no money.″

A truck drove in to pick up salami casings from Czechoslovakia.

″The Romanians love salami and we don’t make these,″ said Adrian Sucigan, an economist at the Popesti Leordeni sausage factory. ″We can use as much as we can get.″

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