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Months to go before residents can return to
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Officials said it will be three to four months before
residents can return to
leave, after levees broke and waters inundated more than 80 percent of the
city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
We are looking at 12 to 16 weeks before people can come in," Mayor Ray Nagin told
ABC television, adding that he was also greatly concerned about the
"dead bodies in the water.
"At some point in time, the dead bodies are going to start to create a serious
disease issue," he said.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco also told ABC it could be months before
the city is habitable.
"We don't know the integrity of the buildings," she said. "But it is going to be
weeks, perhaps months."
Blanco said the people still in the city are being evacuated and said only
emergency officials should remain "until we can manage to shore up the
levee and get the water off the streets."
"It is a logistical nightmare for us to just bring water and food supplies in.
The stores can't function, you know. It is a miserable situation," she said.
Nagin noted that the waters flooding into the low-lying city "will rise to try
and equal the water level of the lake, which is three feet (one meter) above sea level.
"That's significant, because on
it is six feet below sea level in elevation. There will be nine feet in that area, and
probably 20 feet in other areas of the city," Nagin said.
"There were thousands of people that were trapped on roofs and attics. We have
saved so many lives," he said. "Now we have this other challenge with the rising water."
Some 12,000 to 15,000 people were huddled in the city's Superdome sports stadium,
which officials had designated a shelter of last resort.
Meanwhile, looting broke out in some areas and gas leaks fueled fires.
About 3,500 Army National Guardsmen in
shelter, removing debris and distributing water and food.
Blanco said the challenge for Wednesday would be to ferry those still stranded out of the city.
"We have sent buses in. We will be either loading them by boat, helicopter –
anything that is necessary. Some will be able to walk to the buses, but others will
be lifted in," she said.
News outlets, online journalists struggle
to fill post-storm information gap
Sachin Misra has glued himself to a computer screen since he hung up the phone
with his elderly parents at dawn Monday. Then, five inches of water had flooded
their house near the
Unable to contact them, he posted their photo on several Web sites Tuesday and scoured
``It's frustrating because there's not that much information out there,'' said Misra, who works
great. But I'm just looking for anything about Waveland at this point.''
During disasters such as the
on-the-scene photos and witness accounts at Web sites and blogs. But by its nature, Hurricane
Katrina was so powerful that it hampered citizen journalism by knocking out power and
communications lines and limiting their movements. Instead, established news outlets have
been offering community forums and missing-persons bulletin boards.
``We take it for granted that the Internet is as susceptible as anything to outage,'' said
Michael Tippett, founder of NowPublic, a Web site devoted to news by citizen reporters.
NowPublic put up a missing-persons board. Although many hurricane sites mentioned it,
only a dozen queries had been posted by Tuesday night, including Misra's.
Nearly 2 million customers were without power Tuesday in
disruptions in the region. Sprint Nextel said it was working overtime to restore services.
``People are concentrating on surviving right now,'' Tippett added. ``We'll see the aftermath
of it online later.''
At the popular Flikr photo site, which drew hundreds of camera-phone photos in the hours
photo and discussion board. One set showed flooding at the Keesler Air Force Base in
The personal blog sites that posted from the hurricane zone, though limited, were heavily
trafficked. One site, Kaye's Hurricane Katrina Blog, written by Kaye Trammel, a professor
afternoon because of the heavy traffic.
Though Trammel lost power, she blogged using her BlackBerry, which is always connected
to a wireless network. She used her car battery to recharge the device, a combination phone
and personal digital assistant. Others used technology innovatively, including video blogs and
cell phones to transmit podcasts. One photo blogger, G.J. Charlett, reported that he was
connecting through a ``fax line in a closet of a funeral home.''
Bloggers were also serving as more than citizen reporters. Writer Toni McGee Causey,
and those in surrounding towns. Though her home lost power, she was able to blog using
gas generators and a working DSL line.
``The top floor to a Days Inn hotel in
anyone was in the hotel waiting out the storm,'' she blogged Monday afternoon. ``One reporter
said there were bodies floating in the flood waters in
the PDF format. The paper's local partner news site, Nola.com, featured reporting from citizen
journalists as well as forums for readers to seek and exchange information.
Al.com, a Web site that's a joint effort between three
community forums and boards. A big topic of discussion Tuesday was the break in the levee.
The Sun Herald in
put out a newspaper Tuesday, and set up a telephone hotline for people who had left the area
to let relatives know they were evacuated. The hotline said it would publish the information on
the Web and in the paper.
For Misra, none of that helped. By Tuesday afternoon, he discovered online that the county
courthouse in the town his parents lived in had been overcome by flood waters. Online, he
found aerial video footage of the
His missing-persons postings hadn't yielded any information, so he and his brother booked a
Thursday flight to Jackson, Miss. They will then rent a sport-utility vehicle and search for their parents.
Harrowing tales of loss emerge in Katrina's wake
Deteriorating conditions are difficult
for survivors to bear
survivors of Hurricane Katrina, little is
left but heartbreak and hardship.
Ashley Marcussen's story is one of thousands. She is desperately looking for her husband, Jason,
hoping for the best but fearing the worst.
"I have children that cry to me at nighttime that they want their daddy, and I promised them, I promised
them that their daddy would come home," she tearfully said Wednesday in
the northern edge of
"I don't want to break [the bad news] to my kids. I don't want to
Jason Marcussen was caught by the storm at the trailer he shared with his three children and wife
, who had fled to her mother's nearby house. He'd stayed behind to look for his daughter's lost cat.
The couple talked by phone as he rode out the storm in the bathtub. The last time they talked, Monday,
the eye had just passed.
"My kids told him that they loved him, and they wanted him to come home with us," she said.
"And he told them as soon as the storm was over, and he could get out, he was going to come to us,
but I haven't seen him since."
When she returned home, she found the trailer under 10 trees -- and no sign of her husband.
common law husband, The Associated Press reported.
Xavier Bowie, a truck driver, had lung cancer and couldn't evacuate. He died when he ran out of oxygen
Tuesday, according to the AP.
Turner wrapped his body and kept a tearful vigil, the AP said, in a devastated city so overwhelmed that
rescuers are pushing aside the dead to tend to the living.
after she was torn from his grasp when their home split in half.
"She told me, 'You can't hold me,' ... take care of the kids and the grandkids," he said, sobbing
apartment complex in
is expected to grow. In
that the entire building was swept away.
"All I found that belonged to me was a shoe," she said. "There's nothing left."
In Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, a small town west of
on homes known to contain bodies because there weren't enough refrigerated trucks to remove the corpses.
The U.S. Coast Guard reported 1,259 rescues, but hundreds more likely were trapped or didn't survive.
The rescued told harrowing tales.
"Oh my God, it was hell," Kioka Williams told the AP. She had hacked through the ceiling of the beauty
shop where she worked as floodwaters rose in the
screaming, hollering, flashing lights. It was complete chaos."
One man told the AP that he was in a 9th Ward boardinghouse where at least at least two people
appeared to be dead. Frank Mills, 56, said he was able to make it to the roof of the porch, but while
making his escape he saw one woman floating face up and while on the roof a man slipped from
his grasp and presumably died, the AP reported.
As conditions worsened at
"We have identified shelters in other parts of the state; communities are ready to receive these
people to help them out," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.
"We've got to make their living conditions a little more decent. A lot more decent, as a matter of fact,
because living conditions in the dome are deteriorating rapidly -- no power, no water, hard to get food,
The two major hospitals in
because the elevators were not working, a spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, "there's looting going
on in the streets around the hospital," Karen Troyer Caraway added.
As floodwaters rose around
Nurses hand-pumped ventilators for patients who couldn't breathe, and doctors brought supplies
in by canoe from three nearby hospitals, the AP reported.
And yet the injured kept coming. At one point, a boat pulled up carrying a man doubled over in pain,
the AP reported. "Where are we going to put him? " nursing supervisor Ray Campo asked.
"It's like being in a
public hospital told the AP. "We're trying to work without power. Everyone knows we're
all in this together. We're just trying to stay alive."
Governor: Everyone Must Leave New
NEW ORLEANS - Army engineers struggled without success to plug New Orleans' breached
levees with sandbags, and the governor said Wednesday the situation was worsening and
there was no choice but to abandon the flooded city
"The challenge is an engineering nightmare," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said on ABC's "Good
dropping it into a black hole."
As the waters continued to rise in
across the country converged on the devastated region. The Red Cross reported it had
about 40,000 people in 200 shelters across the area.
Officials said the death toll from Hurricane Katrina had reached at least 110 in
many of whom were still trapped on rooftops and in attics.
Blanco acknowledged that looting was a severe problem but said that officials had to
focus on survivors. "We don't like looters one bit, but first and foremost is search and
rescue," she said.
To repair one of the levees holding back
dropped 3,000-pound sandbags from helicopters and hauled dozens of 15-foot concrete
barriers into the breach. Maj. Gen. Don Riley of the
officials also had a more audacious plan: finding a barge to plug the 500-foot hole.
Riley said it could take close to a month to get the water out of the city. If the water
rises a few feet higher, it could also wipe out the water system for the whole city, said
Blanco said she wanted the Superdome — which had become a shelter of last resort for
about 20,000 people — evacuated within two days, though was still unclear where the
people would go. The air conditioning inside the Superdome was out, the toilets were
broken, and tempers were rising in the sweltering heat. "Conditions are degenerating
rapidly," she said. "It's a very, very desperate situation."
A helicopter view of the devastation over
standing on black rooftops, baking in the sunshine while waiting for rescue boats.
"I can only imagine that this is what
Gov. Haley Barbour after touring the destruction by air Tuesday.
All day long, rescuers in boats and helicopters plucked bedraggled flood refugees
from rooftops and attics. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said 3,000 people have been
rescued by boat and air, some placed shivering and wet into helicopter baskets. They
were brought by the truckload into shelters, some in wheelchairs and some carrying babies,
with stories of survival and of those who didn't make it.
"Oh my God, it was hell," said Kioka Williams, who had to hack through the ceiling of the
beauty shop where she worked as floodwaters rose in
"We were screaming, hollering, flashing lights. It was complete chaos."
Looting broke out in some
than 70 additional officers and an armed personnel carrier into the city. One police officer
was shot in the head by a looter but was expected to recover, authorities said.
and jewelry stores and grabbed merchandise. In
casino slot machines for coins and ransacked other businesses. In some cases, the
looting was in full view of police and National Guardsmen.
Officials said it was simply too early to estimate a death toll. One
alone said it had suffered at least 100 deaths, and officials are "very, very worried that
this is going to go a lot higher," said Joe Spraggins, civil defense director for
least 10 deaths were blamed on the storm.
Several of dead in
under a 25-foot wall of water as Hurricane Katrina slammed the
winds Monday. Louisiana officials said many were feared dead there, too, making Katrina
one of the most punishing storms to hit the
Blanco asked residents to spend Wednesday in prayer.
"That would be the best thing to calm our spirits and thank our Lord that we are survivors,"
she said. "Slowly, gradually, we will recover; we will survive; we will rebuild."
electricity, some without clean drinking water. Officials said it could be weeks, if not months,
before most evacuees will be able to return.
Emergency medical teams from across the country were sent into the region and
cut short his
Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown warned that structural damage
to homes, diseases from animal carcasses and chemicals in floodwaters made it unsafe for
residents to come home anytime soon. The sweltering city of 480,000 had no drinkable
water, and the electricity could be out for weeks.
Katrina, which was downgraded to a tropical depression, packed winds around 30 mph
as it moved through the Ohio Valley early Wednesday, with the potential to dump 8
inches of rain and spin off deadly tornadoes.
The remnants of Katrina spawned bands of storms and tornadoes across
that caused at least two deaths, multiple injuries and leveled dozens of buildings. A
tornado damaged 13 homes near Marshall, Va
Katrina Prompts Global Support for Victims
VIENNA, Austria - From papal prayers to telegrams from China, the world reacted with
an outpouring of compassion Wednesday for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in messages
tinged by shock that a disaster of this scale could occur in the
Islamic extremists rejoiced in America's misfortune, giving the storm a military rank and
declaring in Internet chatter that "Private" Katrina had joined the global jihad, or holy war.
With "God's help," they declared, oil prices would hit $100 a barrel this year.
Venezuela's government, which has had tense relations with Washington, offered humanitarian
aid and fuel if requested.
The storm was seen as an equalizer — proof that any country, weak or strong, can be
victimized by a natural disaster. Images of flood-ravaged
sympathy in central
"Nature proved that no matter how rich and economically developed you are, you can't
fight it," says Danut Afasei, a local official in
killed 13 people last week.
and German Chancellor
sent messages of sympathy to
. Chirac, who has famously quarreled with Bush over the
war, addressed this letter, "Dear George."
said he was praying for victims of the "tragic" hurricane while
expressed his "belief that that the American people will definitely overcome the
natural disaster and rebuild their beautiful homeland."
also sent a message to Bush saying she was "deeply shocked and saddened"
at the devastation caused by the hurricane and expressing her condolences, "especially to the
families of those who have lost their lives, to the injured and to all who have been affected by
this terrible disaster."
The U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland — a capital at the foot of the Alps hit by flooding last
week — said calls were rushing in from Swiss individuals and institutions looking for a way
to donate to relief efforts.
"We are getting calls from the Swiss public looking to express their condolences, (and)
people are also asking for an account number where they can make donations," said
spokesman Daniel Wendell.
on a front-page story on the hurricane. In one of the postings, signature "Emerald" asked
where money could be donated to the victims, but the question sparked a debate about
whether a rich country like the
In response, one posting, from signature "far out," argued that hurricane victims who
are poor still needed support.
Amid the sympathy, however, there was criticism.
With half of the country's population of 16 million living below sea level, the
prepared for a "perfect storm" soon after floods in 1953 killed 2,000 people. The nation
installed massive hydraulic sea walls.
"I don't want to sound overly critical, but it's hard to imagine that (the damage caused by
Katrina) could happen in a Western country," said Ted Sluijter, spokesman for the park
where the sea walls are exhibited. "It seemed like plans for protection and evacuation
weren't really in place, and once it happened, the coordination was on loose hinges."
The sympathy was muted in some corners by a sense that the
what it sowed, since the country is seen as the main contributor to global warming.
Joern Ehlers, a spokesman for World Wildlife Fund Germany, said global warming
had increased the intensity of hurricanes.
"The Americans have a big impact on the greenhouse effect," Ehlers said.
But Harlan L. Watson, the
link between global warming and the strength of storms.
"Our scientists are telling us right now that there's not a linkage," he said in
"I'll rely on their information."
Hurricane Katrina cuts phone service to millions
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Millions of people in storm-ravaged areas of the southern
outages from Hurricane Katrina hampering efforts to restore networks
BellSouth Corp., the dominant local telephone company in much of the area, said service
had been cut to about 1.75 million customers along the Gulf Coast, from
Large wireless carriers also reported problems with their networks.
"A significant amount of the network is out in all of the areas affected, especially in areas
floods subside, we'll begin some of the restoration efforts."
With power still out in many parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, the switches and infrastructure
that runs the telecommunications networks were operating on backup power, either
batteries or generators.
Chandler said BellSouth was beginning to assess the damage to its network in Alabama and
Mississippi, but it might be some time before it was able to reach its equipment in
Cellular companies said text messages and e-mails were more likely to reach people on cellular
phones than voice calls. Such messages are sent as small bursts of data and can find a path to
the network more easily than a voice call, which requires a steady connection.
Some cell phone users were also able to place calls, but not receive them, depending on which
cellular towers were working.
Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Sheryl Sellaway said the company's network was starting to
improve from Tuesday. Cingular, the wireless venture of SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth,
and Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, had
used stores in some areas to offer free calling and phone recharging.
Sellaway said Verizon was also readying portable cellular towers to be deployed in areas
where the company had lost equipment or could not reach it.
With hit-or-miss telephone service, many people turned to the Internet to attempt contact relatives
or friends. Several Internet sites set up boards for people to post messages to reach relatives
or swap news about particular neighborhoods.
Queries pour in, but often the only answer is silence. Or a busy signal.
"Can Someone Help Me Please? I am a student in
I believe my mother, brother and sister are trapped in an attic at
The desperate message was posted early Tuesday on the Web site Nola.com, one of many
online forums filled with people trying to reach friends and family members living in the path
of Hurricane Katrina.
In the storm's hardest-hit areas, phone lines are dead, even under water. Cellular phone
service isn't much more reliable. Since Katrina blew ashore Monday morning, Web sites,
hotlines and emergency centers have been inundated with inquiries.
Said Ingrid Bailey, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross: "Our system is being
Many of Anthony D'Avanza's extended family evacuated
"A lot of them I can't reach. I don't know if they left town or where they are," D'Avanza,
Anne Murdoch of Countryside said she was "dazed" until early afternoon, when she finally
heard from her 22-year-old daughter and learned she had survived the storm.
"It was like a voice from heaven," Murdoch said. "I think I screamed in the office."
Communication with the areas hit by the storm is touch and go at best.
Colleen Parks of St. Petersburg talked repeatedly during the weekend with her parents
and brother, who fled New Orleans for St. Francisville, near
First they talked by cell phone, then on the land line at the family's motel.
But on Tuesday, nothing.
"I cannot get through to anybody," Parks said. "I've been trying all day. It's "all
circuits are busy,' or it's just a busy signal."
Patrick Kimball, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, said spotty phone service should be
"Obviously in the areas hardest hit by the storm, communication is very difficult. There
have been disruptions to the network," he said.
While urging people to be patient, he suggested sending text messages instead of making
"They are a much less significant burden on the (network) traffic," he said. "If calls aren't able
to go through, text messages will be held in queue. They don't just disappear if they don't
go through immediately."
The local chapter of the Red Cross established a toll-free number for residents to call to
obtain information about family members, but that service is limited.
"They use lists of people who are in Red Cross shelters," said chapter spokesman Tim
Teahan. "If someone is not in a Red Cross shelter, there essentially is not a way for us
to know where they are."
Even so, Teahan said the line was taking 15 to 20 calls an hour.
A newspaper in
Messages left on the Sun-Herald's hotline will be published in print and on the paper's
Web site when possible. But late Tuesday afternoon, the hotline was no longer accepting
new messages. The inbox was full.
his three brothers were watching the haunting television images and calling continually
for news about their cousins, nieces and nephews.
"We just keep talking to each other and see who we have reached."
Some tips for making contact with friends and family living in Katrina's path:
Call the local Red Cross toll free at (877) 741-1444. Representatives will take information
about people you're looking for and check it against lists of people staying at Red Cross
shelters. Because of confidentiality rules, shelter rosters are not available to the public.
Priority will be placed on inquiries about people with special medical needs.
Try sending text messages instead of calling cell phones. Text messages often get through
more quickly, cellular providers say, and they use different channels from voice calls.
When making voice calls, avoid high-traffic times like late afternoon and evening.
Also, if you don't get through the first time, wait 10 seconds before redialing.
The paper says it will publish the messages in print and on its Web site. The hotline,
at (866) 453-1925, was not accepting new messages Tuesday evening.
ON THE INTERNET
www.cingularhurricaneupdates.com Cingular Wireless is updating the site several times a
day, with further tips for wireless communication and the condition of its networks.
www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/ Gulfport, Miss., Sun-Herald newspaper Web site.
http://eyesonkatrina.blogspot.com The Sun-Herald's hurricane blog.
As emergency officials in
and wept for the dead and missing.
GULFPORT, Miss. - Just past a starved and growling 80-pound Rottweiler, Ben Powers' guitar case
beckoned him, wedged between a piece of nail-spiked roof and a television set in the shattered mosaic
of what was his neighborhood.
Powers and his wife witnessed the destruction as their seaside house was smashed away from them
Monday. Ever since, he has mountain-climbed the storm-surged rubbish with a strip of torn window
molding that also helps him fend off the dog as he surveys and salvages what little he can.
Truly, though, nothing's left, despite the stark appearance of everything blended and twisted and smashed
by Hurricane Katrina's 20-foot-plus storm surge in the
swept from its piers, a fire station was blown apart, and the only clean patches are the concrete home
foundations, wet from the snapped and gurgling plumbing.
The trashed neighborhood of little middle-class cottages is just one of the thousands of devastating
buzz cuts Katrina sawed into the Gulf Coast and the minds of tens of thousands of residents.
Tuesday, as some survivors searched through the rubble or were being rescued from the roofs of flooded
homes, others wept for the hundreds of dead and missing scattered over hundreds of miles of coast.
So far, the Gulfport-Biloxi area has borne the brunt of fatalities from Katrina -- more than 100, according
to state emergency management officials.
''Nothing could describe this. No one could have thought it. Our address was 1446, now it's 1441-and-a-half,''
Powers, 34, said while warily eyeing the dog. ``Whoa! Boy! No!''
The dog started clumsily clambering toward him but stopped, frustrated by the same unpredictable jagged
peaks and valleys of five-foot-high debris.
Powers finally reached the guitar case and opened it.
''It's gone, empty,'' he said.
So is Lola, the family tabby cat. Casey the border collie made it, though, when Powers and his wife,
Rebecca, escaped their collapsing home Monday morning.
They decided to stay home because the storm appeared as if it were going to hit farther west and
would carry only a 20-foot storm surge. Their house foundation was 22 feet above sea level.
But the rains came, and then the gusts, and then the sustained winds, and then the water, and then
a Jet Ski floated past. A neighbor's home wasn't far behind. It knocked into the first floor of their
home ''like someone taking out the legs of your chair when you're sitting in it,'' he said.
They ran upstairs, chased by the flood. Two-by-fours and other pieces of wood were shooting out of the
massive surge as it churned into the house. When their hot tub floated just below the second-floor
window, they jumped in, buoyed on the sea of everything.
From there, the two skipped from board to board, house siding to house siding, roof patch to roof patch
until they took shelter atop a neighbor's
would drown or spare them -- by the notches of adjustable shelf brackets on the wall.
GOING AND STAYING
Powers, a seven-year
and said he's moving.
Neighbor Blake Beckham, 48, a
''I've been through a Cat 1, a 2, a 3, a 4. I wasn't staying around. This was death,'' Beckham said, referring
to the categories of hurricane strengths.
Later, he choked up when recounting how he found the American flag he had planted after the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks.
`WE'RE ALL IN SHOCK'
Carla Powell, a clinical social worker, didn't weep as she searched for client files at her business, Advanced
But she feared for her patients.
''This can be devastating for anyone, and people will need help everywhere. I can't comprehend it. We're
all in shock now. I know I am,'' Powell said, losing her composure when a friend found a framed poem
extolling the thankless job of social workers.
Then it was back to business, marveling at a rental house she owns that was rotated 90 degrees and blown
50 feet off its foundation.
Nearby, Ben Powers was amazed, too. He finally made it past the Rottweiler that guarded the second
floor of his home, which was now on the first floor. The oval bathroom mirror was intact.
''Hey, it's not cracked,'' he said. ``I guess I've got good luck.''
Mayor: Katrina May Have Killed Thousands
killed thousands of people in
"We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and other people
dead in attics, Mayor Ray Nagin said. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds.
Most likely, thousands."
The frightening estimate came as Army engineers struggled to plug
levees with giant sandbags and concrete barriers, while authorities drew up plans to clear
out the tens of thousands of people left in
There will be a "total evacuation of the city. We have to. The city will not be functional for two or
three months," Nagin said.
Most of those refugees — 15,000 to 20,000 people — were in the Superdome, which had become
hot and stuffy, with broken toilets and nowhere for anyone to bathe. "It can no longer operate as
a shelter of last resort," the mayor said.
Nagin estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people remained in
could be evacuated.
, meanwhile, began mounting one of the largest search-and-rescue operations in
supplies, along with the hospital ship USNS Comfort, search helicopters and elite SEAL water-rescue teams.
workers from across the country converged on the devastated region in
the agency's biggest-ever relief operation.
The death toll from Hurricane Katrina has reached at least 110 in
many of whom were still trapped on rooftops and in attics.
A full day after the Big Easy thought it had escaped Katrina's full fury, two levees broke
and spilled water into the streets Tuesday, swamping an estimated 80 percent of the bowl-shaped,
below-sea-level city, inundating miles and miles of homes and rendering much of New Orleans
uninhabitable for weeks or months.
"We are looking at 12 to 16 weeks before people can come in," Nagin said on ABC's "Good
water. At some point in time the dead bodies are going to start to create a serious disease issue."
With the streets awash and looters brazenly cleaning out stores, authorities planned to move
at least 25,000 of the New Orlean's storm refugees to the Houston Astrodome, 350 miles away,
over two days in a vast convoy of some 475 buses.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the situation was desperate and there was no choice but to clear out.
"The logistical problems are impossible and we have to evacuate people in shelters," the
governor said. "It's becoming untenable. There's no power. It's getting more difficult to
get food and water supplies in, just basic essentials."
Around midday, officials with the state and the Army Corps of Engineers said the water
levels between the city and Lake Pontchartrain had equalized, and water had stopped
rising in New Orleans, and even appeared to be falling, at least in some places. But the
danger was far from over.
The Army Corps of Engineers said it planned to use heavy-duty Chinook helicopters to drop
20,000-pound sandbags Wednesday into the 500-foot gap in the failed floodwall. But the
agency said it was having trouble getting the sandbags and dozens of 15-foot highway barriers
to the site because the city's waterways were blocked by loose barges, boats and large debris.
Officials said they were also looking at a more audacious plan: finding a barge to plug the
"The challenge is an engineering nightmare," the governor said on ABC's "Good Morning
down Interstate 10, pushing shopping carts, laundry racks, anything they could find to carry
their belongings. Dozens of fishermen from up to 200 miles away floated in on caravans of
boats to pull residents out of flooded neighborhoods.
On some of the few roads that were still passable, people waved at passing cars with empty
water jugs, begging for relief. Hundreds of people appeared to have spent the night on a
In one east New orleans neighborhood, refugees were being loaded onto the backs of moving
vans like cattle, and in one case emergency workers with a sledgehammer and an ax broke
open the back of a mail truck and used it to ferry sick and elderly residents.
Police officers were asking residents to give up any guns they had before they boarded buses
and trucks because police desperately needed the firepower: Some officers who had been
stranded on the roof of a motel said they were being shot at overnight.
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GOT HIT BY HURRICAN KATRINA ARE GOT AWAY FROM HURRICAN KATRINA AND THERE LOVE ONE'S
AND Friends AND YOUR family YOU CAN FIDE INFO ABOUT MISSING KID'S
AND PEOPLE AND family AND HOW YOU CAN HELP OUT AND LOT'S MORN PHONE NUMBERS
AND WEB SITE'S TOO I HOPE THIS INFO WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU
GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR LOVE ONE'S AND YOUR FRIENDS AND family
FROM DAVID AARON GARCIA BIG 8 AT IT'S BEST NEWS - WE ARE HERE FOR YOU
Phone numbers for those in extreme emergencies:
Louisiana State Police: (800) 469-4828
St. John Emergencies: (985) 652-6338 | (985) 497-3321
Kenner Emergencies: (504) 468-7200
Coast Guard: (225) 389-2133
Emergency search and rescue phone lines for those in distress:
(225) 922-0325 | (225) 922-0332 | (225) 922-0333 | (225) 922-0334 | (225) 922-0335 | (225) 922-0340 | (225) 922-0341
Jefferson Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness:
To locate MISSING children, family members:
Red Cross Family Links Registry, 1-877-LOVED-1S (1-877-568-3317)
American Red Cross, (866) 438-4636
To begin assistance process:
FEMA, (800) 621-FEMA
To report price gouging:
Number for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer patients who
need to continue treatment in Baton Rouge:
Number for families to let soldiers overseas know they are okay:
Web site for police officers, firefighters to reconnect with their families: