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Thread: Hurricane Katrina

  1. #31
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

    By Sidney Blumenthal
    http://service.spiegel.de/cache/inte...372455,00.html

    In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

    Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, Hurricane Katrina has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter and hundreds to thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.

    A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.

    The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

    The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003, unleashing the developers. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency then announced they could no longer protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce.

    In response to this potential crisis, four leading environmental groups conducted a joint expert study, concluding in 2004 that without wetlands protection New Orleans could be devastated by an ordinary, much less a Category 4 or 5, hurricane. "There's no way to describe how mindless a policy that is when it comes to wetlands protection," said one of the report's authors. The chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality dismissed the study as "highly questionable," and boasted, "Everybody loves what we're doing."

    "My administration's climate change policy will be science based," President Bush declared in June 2001. But in 2002, when the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a study on global warming to the United Nations reflecting its expert research, Bush derided it as "a report put out by a bureaucracy," and excised the climate change assessment from the agency's annual report. The next year, when the EPA issued its first comprehensive "Report on the Environment," stating, "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment," the White House simply demanded removal of the line and all similar conclusions. At the G-8 meeting in Scotland this year, Bush successfully stymied any common action on global warming. Scientists, meanwhile, have continued to accumulate impressive data on the rising temperature of the oceans, which has produced more severe hurricanes.

    In February 2004, 60 of the nation's leading scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, warned in a statement, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking": "Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States of America the world's most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy ... Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and administrations of both parties in forming and implementing policies. The administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle ... The distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends must cease." Bush completely ignored this statement.

    In the two weeks preceding the storm in the Gulf, the trumping of science by ideology and expertise by special interests accelerated. The Federal Drug Administration announced that it was postponing sale of the morning-after contraceptive pill, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of its safety and its approval by the FDA's scientific advisory board. The United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa accused the Bush administration of responsibility for a condom shortage in Uganda -- the result of the administration's evangelical Christian agenda of "abstinence." When the chief of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Justice Department was ordered by the White House to delete its study that African-Americans and other minorities are subject to racial profiling in police traffic stops and he refused to buckle under, he was forced out of his job. When the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting oversight analyst objected to a $7 billion no-bid contract awarded for work in Iraq to Halliburton (the firm at which Vice President Cheney was formerly CEO), she was demoted despite her superior professional ratings. At the National Park Service, a former Cheney aide, a political appointee lacking professional background, drew up a plan to overturn past environmental practices and prohibit any mention of evolution while allowing sale of religious materials through the Park Service.

    On the day the levees burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech in Colorado comparing the Iraq war to World War II and himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt: "And he knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Bush had boarded his very own "Streetcar Named Desire."

    Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the Guardian of London.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by redhot00
    I heard this morning that a gang of looters invaded an N.O. nursing home with guns drawn, took food and drugs and threw the elderly, some in wheelchairs, out of their rooms.
    Do you have a link for this story? There are a lot of wild and unsubstantiated rumors floating around.

    Also, shouldn't the police be focusing on evacuating nursing homes and whatnot instead of trying to prevent people from stealing from them?

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryan
    Here's another one, thank you AP:

    http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/150...headlines=true

    In an uptown New Orleans neighborhood, managers of a nursing home had *gathered* enough food for 10 days, according to a report by The Associated Press, but then *looters* arrived. "Now we'll have to equip our department heads with guns and teach them how to shoot," executive director Peggy Hoffman said Wednesday as the home's residents were being evacuated.

    I wonder how AP differentiates between "find", "secure", "gather", vs. "looting" - still by the color of our skin, not the content of our character?

  4. #34
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Careful bobby, youar agrument is starting to sound like an Us vs. Them.

    (Color of our skin).

    I do not approve of looting in any sense, but the post you just made does not seem to be too racist or differential in describing. The guys went out and got stuff from stores. You can call that looting if you want, but people coming and then taking it from them is looting.

    Actually, it is just plain stealing.



    Also, in a situation like this, anyone taking perishables I do not consider looting. Anyone taking a TV I consider scum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Do you have a link for this story? There are a lot of wild and unsubstantiated rumors floating around.
    The only link I'm seeing to the nursing home story is free republic, a source I wouldn't want to associate myself with. I had actually heard this story morphed into looters stealing from a makeshift neonatal clinic in a tent. I love that anchors now feel like it's ok to gossip on the air and broadcast unconfirmed rumors to masses of spongey brains that lap it up like the truth...

  6. #36

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    Bully for you, Ninjahedge. I'm glad to see that you're standing strong on the theft of electronics when we're watching the real-time deaths of thousands of people. You've really got your priorites straight.

  7. #37
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Bully for you, Ninjahedge. I'm glad to see that you're standing strong on the theft of electronics when we're watching the real-time deaths of thousands of people. You've really got your priorites straight.
    Shade, stick it.

    The question was not about peoples lives or use of cops.

    Get your head on strait and stop trying to start arguments.

    Nowhere in my post do I relate the stealing of electronics to people dying, but if you want to, here goes.

    I consider people who take time to go out and steal some luxury item like electronics when their help could be used by the community as scum.

    Better?


  8. #38
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    Unsubstantiated rumors and sensational news stories notwithstanding, violence, not simply looting, should be considered a priority if it is disrupting relief efforts. Which it is:

    In Washington, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the government is sending in 1,400 National Guardsmen a day to help stop looting and other lawlessness in New Orleans. Already, 2,800 National Guardsmen are in the city, he said.

    But across the flooded-out city, the rescuers themselves came under attack from storm victims.

    "Hospitals are trying to evacuate," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. "At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family."'

    Some Federal Emergency Management rescue operations were suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out, Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said in Washington. "In areas where our employees have been determined to potentially be in danger, we have pulled back," he said...

    The first of hundreds of busloads of people evacuated from the Superdome arrived early Thursday at their new temporary home - another sports arena, the Houston Astrodome, 350 miles away.

    But the ambulance service in charge of taking the sick and injured from the Superdome suspended flights after a shot was reported fired at a military helicopter. Richard Zuschlag, chief of Acadian Ambulance, said it was too dangerous for his pilots.

    The military, which was overseeing the removal of the able-bodied by buses, continued the ground evacuation without interruption, said National Guard Lt. Col. Pete Schneider. The government had no immediate confirmation of whether a military helicopter was fired on.

    Terry Ebbert, head of the city's emergency operations, warned that the slow evacuation at the Superdome had become an "incredibly explosive situation," and he bitterly complained that FEMA was not offering enough help.

    "This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace," he said. "FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

  9. #39
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    As one of those living on the island of Manhattan this entire episode sends chills down my spine when considering what the government would / will do once the next horror show comes to NYC.

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    MTV News

    http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/150...headlines=true

    Usher, Green Day, Alicia Keys Sign On For Hurricane Relief Concert September 10
    09.01.2005 1:30 PM EDT

    Shows will take place in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville.

    Usher, Green Day, Ludacris and Alicia Keys are among the artists who have signed on for a Hurricane Katrina relief concert that will span four cities, three television networks and several musical genres.

    Dave Matthews Band, Rob Thomas, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, David Banner, Gretchen Wilson and John Mellencamp will also take part in the shows, which will be staged in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville on September 10 and will air live on MTV, VH1 and CMT. Additional artists will be added to the lineup soon, and proceeds from the show will go to the American Red Cross.

    "In the face of a tragedy of this scope, we simply have to do everything in our power to offer support, comfort and hope to all the people directly impacted by the hurricane," Judy McGrath, chair and CEO of MTV Networks, said Wednesday (August 31) of the concerts. "Our goal is to join forces on every medium to get involved, to volunteer, to contribute in any way we can."

    The concerts are part of a larger awareness campaign that will also include an MTV News special on Katrina relief efforts, on-campus resources, and information across all the network's channels regarding aid and activism.

    To find out what you can do to help provide relief to victims of Katrina, head to think MTV's hurricane relief page.

    MTV's parent company, Viacom, also announced that it has contributed $1 million to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort.

    Hundreds are feared dead and tens of thousands are without shelter in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the hurricane's wake (see "Katrina Devastates New Orleans; Mississippi Death Toll Rises To Over 110"). Flood waters continued to rise in New Orleans on Wednesday, further plunging the city into chaos. President George W. Bush has called the hurricane "one of the worst national disasters in our nation's history." He devoted federal resources to the aid effort, but called on private citizens to do their part as well.

    [This story was originally published at 6:48 p.m. ET on 08.31.2005]

    Robert Mancini

  11. #41
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Meanwhile...

    Kuwaiti: 'The terrorist Katrina' is a soldier of Allah'
    Special to World Tribune.com


    MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE
    Thursday, September 1, 2005
    http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtri...183333333.html

    Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment's research center, published an article titled "The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda."(1) the Aug. 31 edition of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa. Following are excerpts:

    "...As I watched the horrible sights of this wondrous storm, I was reminded of the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah [in the compilations] of Al-Bukhari and Abu Daoud. The Hadith says: 'The wind is of the wind of Allah, it comes from mercy or for the sake of torment. When you see it, do not curse it, [but rather] ask Allah for the good that is in it, and ask Allah for shelter from its evil.' "When the satellite channels reported on the scope of the terrifying destruction in America [caused by] this wind, I was reminded of the words of [Prophet Muhammad]: 'The wind sends torment to one group of people, and sends mercy to others.' I do not think and only Allah [really] knows that this wind, which completely wiped out American cities in these days, is a wind of mercy and blessing. It is almost certain that this is a wind of torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire.

    "But I began to ask myself: Doesn't this country [the U.S.] claim to aspire to establish justice, freedom, and equality amongst the people? Isn't this country claiming that everything it did in Afghanistan and Iraq was for truth and justice? How can it be that these American claims are untrue, when we see how good prevails in the streets of Afghanistan, and how it became an oasis of security with America's entrance there? How can these American claims in the matter of Iraq be untrue, when we see that Iraq has become the most tranquil and secure country in the world?"

    "But how strange it is that after all the tremendous American achievements for the sake of humanity, these mighty winds come and evilly rip [America's] cities to shreds? Have the storms joined the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization?

    "How sad I am for America. Here it is, poor thing, trying with all its might to lower oil prices which have reached heights unprecedented in all history. Along with America's phenomenal efforts to lower the price of oil in order to salvage its declining economy and its currency that is still falling due to the 'smart' policy America is implementing in the world comes this storm, the fruit of Allah's planning, so that [the price of] a barrel of oil will increase further still. By Allah, this is not schadenfreude.

    "Oh honored gentlemen, I began to read about these winds, and I was surprised to discover that the American websites that are translated [into Arabic] are talking about the fact that that the storm Katrina is the fifth equatorial storm to strike Florida this year... and that a large part of the U.S. is subject every year to many storms that extract [a price of] dead, and completely destroy property. I said, Allah be praised, until when will these successive catastrophes strike them?

    "But before I went to sleep, I opened the Koran and began to read in Surat Al-R'ad ['The Thunder' chapter], and stopped at these words [of Allah]: 'The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done, or it will strike areas close to their territory, until the promise of Allah comes to pass, for, verily, Allah will not fail in His promise.' [Koran 13:31]."

    Endnote: (1) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), August 31, 2005.

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    New Orleans makes 'desperate SOS' relief plea
    Thu Sep 1, 2005 4:56 PM ET

    By Jason Reed

    NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - New Orleans' mayor issued an urgent plea for relief of his flooded city on Thursday as gunshots and looting hampered the evacuation of desperate crowds trying to escape Hurricane Katrina's destruction.

    "This is a desperate SOS," Mayor Ray Nagin said in a statement read by CNN. Some of the thousands of hungry, thirsty storm survivors outside the city's convention center chanted similar pleas.

    "Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don't anticipate enough buses. Currently the convention center is unsanitary and unsafe and we are running out of supplies for 15,000 to 25,000 people," Nagin said.

    Congress was expected to cut short its summer break to pass emergency financial aid for hurricane victims, according to congressional aides who said an initial package could be around $10 billion.

    Shell-shocked New Orleans officials tried to clamp down on looting in the historic jazz city reduced to a swampy ruin by Monday's storm. Bodies floated in the streets, attackers armed with axes stripped hospitals of medicine and authorities said they could still only guess at how many people had died.

    "We don't have numbers. It could be in the hundreds, or the thousands," U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said of the state-wide death toll. "I think it's going to be shocking."

    Federal disaster declarations covered 90,000 square miles along the U.S. Gulf Coast, an area roughly the size of Great Britain. As many as 400,000 people had been forced to leave their homes.

    Violence broke out in pockets of New Orleans among the wandering crowds desperate to escape the flooded city and hellish 90-degree (32 C) temperatures. "We want help," people chanted outside the convention center."

    Boat rescues were delayed because of the danger and police rescuers shifted their focus to fighting looting and other crime that gripped the city.

    A National Guard official said as many as 60,000 people had gathered at the increasingly squalid Superdome stadium for evacuation.

    But the operation was suspended after reports that someone fired at a military helicopter sent to ferry out survivors. A National Guard soldier was shot and wounded in the arena on Wednesday.

    TROOPS ON THE WAY

    Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops were mobilized in Louisiana. The military said the number would rise to 21,000 by Friday and 30,000 in the next few days, mostly in Louisiana and Mississippi but also in storm-stricken parts of Alabama and Florida.

    Convoys of police and state trooper cars raced down Interstate 10 toward New Orleans with lights flashing.

    "We will do what it takes to bring law and order to our area," an angry Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco told reporters. "I'm just furious. It's intolerable,"

    Some buses shipped survivors from the Superdome 350 miles west to another stadium, the Astrodome in Houston.

    The first refugees began arriving early on Thursday at the Houston stadium, where Red Cross workers set out thousands of cots and "comfort kits" that included toiletries and a meal.

    Elsewhere in New Orleans, gunshots repeatedly rang out and fires flared as looters broke into stores, houses, hospitals and office buildings -- some in search of food, others looking for anything of value.

    Two hospitals were under siege by robbers who used axes, guns and metal pipes to steal pain killers and medicine, according to a pilot flying relief operations into New Orleans.

    DYING PATIENTS

    Power and water were off and supplies were exhausted. Critically ill patients were dying one by one without oxygen, insulin and intravenous fluids, the pilot said.

    Looting and tension eased in Biloxi, Mississippi, as troops arrived and the Salvation Army began serving 1,200 meals a day at a canteen set up beside the charity's demolished building.

    Some of those left hungry and homeless after Katrina shattered the Mississippi coast with a 30-foot wall of water volunteered to help serve, and food lines were orderly.

    "The mob could begin to rule in a few days if these people do not get more food and water," said August Pillsbury, who was in charge of the canteen.

    Search crews probed the rubble of collapsed buildings with heat-sensing robots in search of the living and cadaver dogs to find the dead. They were still pulling out survivors, and leaving behind corpses trapped under debris.

    President Bush condemned the looting and warned against charging artificially high prices for gasoline.

    "I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this, whether it be looting, or price-gouging at the gasoline pump or taking advantage of charitable giving, or insurance fraud," Bush said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    FLOODWATERS DROPPING

    The president said on Wednesday it could take years to recover and the New Orleans mayor estimated it would be three to four months before residents could return. A million people fled the New Orleans area before Katrina arrived, but tens of thousands had lacked the means or ability to get out.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said floodwaters started to drop in New Orleans, which is mostly below sea level and was deluged by water from Lake Pontchartrain after levees broke.

    "Water is now flowing slowly out of New Orleans because water is seeking its own level -- that of Lake Pontchartrain," the Corps said in a news release.

    That would still leave most of the city under about 8 feet of water and officials estimated it could take a month to get the water out.

    Some in Mississippi and Louisiana were frustrated with relief efforts.

    "Many people didn't have the financial means to get out," said Alan LeBreton, 41, an apartment superintendent who lived on Biloxi, Mississippi's seaside road, now in ruins. "That's a crime and people are angry about it."

    The Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper said in an editorial emergency supplies "simply are not getting here fast enough" and asked "why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?"

    Gasoline prices soared to new records amid rising concern about supplies and no clear picture of when production would return to normal. They vaulted to well over $3 a gallon in most parts of the country and nearly $4 in some areas.

    The hurricane cut a swath through a region responsible for about a quarter of the nation's oil and gas output. Several refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast remained shut and the Bush administration began releasing oil from the nation's strategic reserves to offset the losses.

    (Additional reporting by Mark Babineck and Erwin Seba in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Paul Simao in Mobile, Alabama, Peter Cooney in Houston, Marc Serota in Pensacola, Florida and Steve Holland in Washington)

    Reuters 2005. All rights reserved.

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    Bodies, gunfire and chaos in New Orleans' streets
    Thu Sep 1, 2005 5:44 PM ET

    By Mark Babineck

    NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Rotting bodies littered New Orleans' streets on Thursday and troops headed in to control looting and violence, as thousands of desperate survivors of Hurricane Katrina pleaded to be evacuated from the flooded city, or even just fed.

    The historic jazz city became a playground for armed looters, and sporadic gunfire hampered chaotic and widely criticized rescue efforts.

    The mayhem in New Orleans, after Katrina's attack on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday, resembled a refugee crisis in a Third World hot spot. There was a television report that a sniper opened fire on rescue workers as they tried to evacuate sick patients from a flooded hospital.

    Bodies lay in the streets and attackers armed with axes and steel pipes stripped hospitals of medicine. Authorities said they feared thousands of people were dead but they could still only guess at the death toll. One victim was left abandoned in a wheelchair with just a sheet covering the corpse.

    New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded for urgent help in getting evacuees to safety. "This is a desperate SOS," he said in a statement.

    Nagin said between 15,000 and 20,000 survivors were still stranded outside the city's convention center and, with supplies rapidly running out, there were no signs of the buses that had been promised to take them to decent shelter.

    "We need ground transportation to get the evacuees out. We need to get them to shelter, get them to food, get them to a safer environment," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.

    Military reinforcements descended in helicopters, and armored personnel carriers patrolled Canal Street, which borders New Orleans' legendary French Quarter district of bars and fleshpots.

    Senior Pentagon officials said the National Guard force on the storm-ravaged Gulf coast would be raised to 30,000, and 3,000 regular Army soldiers may also be sent in to tackle armed gangs that have looted stores across New Orleans.

    "We will not tolerate lawlessness, or violence, or interference with the evacuation," Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said. "I'm satisfied that we have ... more than enough forces there and on the way."

    The boost would bring to nearly 50,000 the number of part-time Guard and active-duty military personnel committed to the biggest domestic relief and security effort in U.S. history after Monday's onslaught by killer Hurricane Katrina.

    MAYHEM

    On the ground there was no sign of the mayhem being brought under control. Gunshots rang out and fires flared as looters broke into stores, houses, hospitals and office buildings -- some in search of food, others looking for anything of value.

    Violence broke out in pockets of New Orleans among the wandering crowds grown hungry, thirsty and desperate to escape the flooded city and 90-degree (32 C) temperatures.

    "We want help," people chanted outside the convention center."

    In Washington and in the region, officials were peppered with questions about the pace of the relief operation, and some Democrats accused President Bush of acting too slowly.

    Bush, who returned early to Washington on Wednesday from his Texas vacation, urged patience.

    He said Katrina will represent a temporary setback for the U.S. economy and the energy sector. But he said gasoline would be hard to find in places, warned companies not to overcharge, and urged Americans to conserve. "Don't buy gas if you don't need it," he said. He will travel to the coastal area on Friday.

    Members of the U.S. Congress cut short their summer break and were expected soon to approve an initial emergency aid package for Katrina victims. A government official said Bush would ask for an initial $10.5 billion.

    Federal disaster declarations covered 90,000 square miles

    along the U.S. Gulf Coast, an area roughly the size of Great Britain. As many as 400,000 people had been forced to leave their homes.

    Thousands waited hours or waded through floodwaters to seek rides out of New Orleans. Buses began shipping survivors from the Superdome 350 miles west to another stadium, the Astrodome in Houston, but not as quickly as hoped.

    Two New Orleans hospitals were pillaged by robbers who used axes, guns and metal pipes to steal pain killers and medicine, according to a pilot flying relief operations into New Orleans.

    Power and water were off and supplies were exhausted. Critically ill patients were dying one by one without oxygen, insulin and intravenous fluids, the pilot said.

    Looting and tension eased in Biloxi, Mississippi, as troops arrived and the Salvation Army began serving 1,200 meals a day at a canteen set up beside the charity's demolished building.

    MOB RULE

    Some of those left hungry and homeless after Katrina shattered the Mississippi coast with a 30-foot (9-meter) wall of water volunteered to help serve, and food lines were orderly.

    "The mob could begin to rule in a few days if these people do not get more food and water," said August Pillsbury, who was in charge of the canteen.

    Search crews probed the rubble of collapsed buildings with tiny heat-sensing robots to find the living and cadaver dogs to find the dead. They were still pulling out survivors, and leaving behind many of the corpses trapped under debris.

    A million people fled the New Orleans area before Katrina hit but tens of thousands of others were unable to get out.

    The floodwaters started to drop on Thursday in New Orleans, which is mostly below sea level and was deluged by water from Lake Pontchartrain after levees broke.

    But most of the city was still under about 8 feet (2.4 metres) of water, and officials estimated it could take a month to get the water out. Bush has said recovery could take years.

    Some in Mississippi and Louisiana were frustrated with relief efforts.

    "Many people didn't have the financial means to get out," said Alan LeBreton, 41, the superintendent of an apartment on Biloxi's seaside road, now in ruins. "That's a crime and people are angry about it."

    The Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper said in an editorial emergency supplies "simply are not getting here fast enough."

    Nationally, retail gasoline prices soared to new records amid concern about supplies. They vaulted to well over $3 a gallon in most parts of the country and nearly $4 in some areas.

    The hurricane cut a swath through a region responsible for about a quarter of the nation's oil and gas output. Several refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast remained shut and the Bush administration loaned oil from the nation's strategic reserves to offset the losses.

    (Additional reporting by Erwin Seba in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Paul Simao in Mobile, Alabama, Peter Cooney in Houston, Marc Serota in Pensacola, Florida and Steve Holland in Washington)

    Reuters 2005.

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    Criagslist (New Orleans & Mobile) have Katrina On-line Emergency Centers. I've volunteered to call and email survivor and evacuee families, friends and loved ones as needed.

    The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City is collecting funds from New Yorkers (put "Hurricane Katrina Relief" in note line). This will be money given to relief on behalf of the citizens of New York.

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    Thanks for that information, BrooklynRider.

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