Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

In Katrina’s Wake

From the Times Colonist August 31,2005

La Place,La.
After enduring a lethal hurricane that had already been labeled “America’s tsunami”, New Orleans was plunged further into crisis Tuesday when flood waters poured through a gaping breach in a storm-damaged levee, leaving 80 per cent of the sunken city under water and forcing authorities to declare a state of martial law.
The emerging catastrophe in the storied Louisiana city came as one of the worst natural disasters in American history unfolded along the country’s Gulf Coast in the wake of hurricane Katrina.
At least 80 people and possibly hundreds more have been killed in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana while tens of thousands have been left homeless and stranded without food or water. Officials said dead bodies discovered Tuesday were being pushed aside as rescue workers concentrated on saving thousands of residents trapped by high water and crushed buildings in cities from New Orleans to Biloxi, Miss. And Mobile, Ala. The situtation was most critical Tuesday night in New Orlenas where rescue workers plucked as many as 1,200 residents from rooftops of homes surrounded by water. With water rising perilously inside the Superdome, the 20,000 refugees now huddled there would be evacuated within 2 days. Broken toilets have made for extremely unsanitary conditions.
With temperatures soaring near 33 C emergency supplies running low and the risk of disease growing, officials were preparing a plan to evacuate all of the city’s remaining residents. The City had no running water or electricity and virtually no communication network.
Entire neighbourhoods in the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport were either under water or flattened. An estimated 30 people died when an apartment complex collapsed amid a storm surge over six meters.
Amid the destruction and chaos, wide spread looting was reported, and the police, attending to life-threatening situations, could do little to respond. In New Orleans, looters waded through the flood waters, carrying as many clothes as they could. At a flooded Walgreens store, police officers took control of the building and themselves dispensed medicine, diapers and other essentials to a small crowd of would-be looters. Those bizarre scenes came as a growing desperation descended on New Orleans. City officials were coming to the grim realization that it was going to be a closed city for at least a month and perhaps far longer.

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