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August 30, 2005

Hundreds feared dead on storm ravaged US coast

Topics: Natural Disasters
[Looters make off with merchandise from several downtown businesses in New Orleans, Tuesday.(AP Photos)]

Wednesday's ABCNewsOnline (August 31) is reporting that hundreds are feared dead from Katrina:

US officials fear "hundreds" are dead along the US Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina sent a wall of water into Mississippi and flooded New Orleans.

Risk analysts estimated the storm would cost insurers $26 billion, making Katrina potentially the costliest US natural disaster.

"The devastation is greater than our worst fears," Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said.

"It's totally overwhelming."

An overnight breach in New Orleans' protective levee system allowed water from Lake Pontchartrain to flood most of the city.

In the Mississippi coastal city of Biloxi, hundreds may have been killed after being trapped in their homes when a nine metre storm surge came ashore, a city spokesman said.

Cadaver dogs were being brought in to help find the dead.

"You're going to be looking at hundreds dead along the coast of Mississippi," spokesman Vincent Creel said.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reported bodies floating in the city's floodwaters.

Rescuers struggled through high water and mountains of debris to reach areas devastated by Katrina when it struck the Gulf Coast region.

The storm inflicted catastrophic damage all along the coast as it slammed into Louisiana with 224 kph winds, then swept across Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

It shattered buildings, broke boats, smashed cars, toppled trees and submerged whole neighbourhoods.

Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by the storm surge, which swept as far as 1.5 kilometres inland in parts of Mississippi.

Hundreds of people climbed onto rooftops to escape the rising water that lapped at the eaves. They used axes, and in at least one case a shotgun, to blast holes in roofs so they could escape through the attics.

Police took boats into flood stricken areas to rescue some of the stranded and others were plucked off rooftops by helicopter. The coast guard helped rescue 1,200 in New Orleans and thousands more all along the Gulf Coast.

"We've been pulling them off sometimes four at a time, sometimes as many as 12," coast guard petty officer Larry Chambers said.

Mayor Nagin said "we probably have 80 per cent of our city under water [in New Orleans], with some sections of our city the water is as deep as six metres.

"Both airports are under water."

Read more ...

Sadly, we are looking at a natural disaster of monumental proportions. I have a very good friend, a 73 year-old priest, that stayed behind in New Orleans along with 3 other priests, and no one has been able to find out how they are doing, or even if they are alive.

Crews Pass Dead to Reach Storm Survivors

Posted by Richard at August 30, 2005 9:53 PM

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