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SnakebyteXX
09-01-2005, 05:04 PM
"Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers. I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2PM . I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be
advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today."

"Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and I am now a temporary resident of a hotel in New Orleans. Many of the hotels sustained significant loss of windows."

"Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today. Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water. Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them
today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast. The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications. Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic."

"Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel who are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting. These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently. The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence."

"The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HIV convention. We have commandeered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic. There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter."

"Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and full of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into garbage bags and removed them. All under police escort. The looters had to be held back at gun point. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the the French Quarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many will be from the hotel, but many will not. We are anticipating dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and acute injuries.
Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems. Food and water shortages are imminent."

"The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard? We hear jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no Salvation Army. In a sort of cliché way, this is an edifying experience. One is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life."

"It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care physician. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible. I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul edifying experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuild will take. And the horror of so many dead people."

web page (http://www.wltx.com/news/news19.aspx?storyid=30194)

New Orleans slides into anarchy

September 2, 2005 - 8:09AM

Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as hurricane-flooded New Orleans descended into anarchy today.

"This is a desperate SOS," Mayor Ray Nagin said.

Anger mounted across the ruined city, with thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims increasingly hungry, desperate and tired of waiting for buses to take them out.

"We are out here like pure animals. We don't have help," the Rev Issac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Centre, where corpses lay in the open and the and other evacuees complained that they were dropped off and given nothing - no food, no water, no medicine.

About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at the convention centre to await buses grew increasingly hostile.
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Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob.

"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," Compass said.

"Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon."

Choppers forced back

In hopes of defusing the unrest at the convention centre, Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank for whatever relief they can find. But the bedlam at the convention centre appeared to make leaving difficult.

A military helicopter tried to land at the convention centre several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 3m off the ground and flew away.

National Guardsmen poured in to help restore order and put a stop to the looting, carjackings and gunfire that have gripped New Orleans in the days since Hurricane Katrina plunged much of the city under water this week.

In a statement to CNN, Nagin said: "This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don't anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we're running our of supplies."

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

Rescuers under attack

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

"Hospitals are trying to evacuate," said Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations centre.

"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 had 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.

A National Guard military policeman was shot in the leg as he and a man scuffled for the MP's rifle, police Captain Ernie Demmo said. The man was arrested.

'It's like they're punishing us'

Outside the Convention Center, the sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement. Thousands of storm refugees had been assembling outside for days, waiting for buses that did not come.

At least seven bodies were scattered outside, and hungry people broke through the steel doors to a food service entrance and began pushing out pallets of water and juice and whatever else they could find.

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies cried around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered with a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

The street outside the centre, above the floodwaters, smelled of urine and faeces, and was choked with dirty nappies, old bottles and rubbish.

"They've been teasing us with buses for four days," Edwards said.

People chanted, "Help, help!" as reporters and photographers walked through. The crowd got angry when journalists tried to photograph one of the bodies, and covered it over with a blanket.

A woman, screaming, went on the front steps of the convention centre and led the crowd in reciting the 23rd Psalm.

John Murray, 52, said: "It's like they're punishing us."

Superdome chaos

The Superdome, where some 25,000 people were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, descended into chaos as well.

Huge crowds, hoping to finally escape the stifling confines of the stadium, jammed the main concourse outside the dome, spilling out over the ramp to the Hyatt hotel next door - a seething sea of tense, unhappy, people packed shoulder-to-shoulder up to the barricades where heavily armed National Guardsmen stood.

At the front of the line, heavily armed police officers and guardsmen stood watch and handed out water as tense and exhausted crowds struggled onto buses. At the back end of the line, people jammed against police barricades in the rain. Luggage, bags of clothes, pillows, blankets were strewn in the puddles.

Fights broke out. A fire erupted in a rubbish chute inside the dome, but a National Guard commander said it did not affect the evacuation. After a traffic jam kept buses from arriving at the Superdome for nearly four hours, a near-riot broke out in the scramble to get on the buses that finally did show up.

Colonel Henry Whitehorn, head of state police, said authorities are working on establishing a temporary jail to hold people accused of looting and other crimes.

"These individuals will not take control of the city of New Orleans," he said.

Evacuation

The first of hundreds of busloads of people evacuated from the Superdome arrived early today at their new temporary home - another sports arena, the Houston Astrodome, 600km 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 Lieutenant Colonel 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."

Washington's response

In Washington, the White House said President George Bush will tour the devastated Gulf Coast region tomorrow and has asked his father and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims.

The president urged a crackdown on the lawlessness.

"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.

Yesterday, Mayor Ray Nagin offered the most startling estimate yet of the magnitude of the disaster: Asked how many people died in New Orleans, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands." The death toll has already reached at least 126 in Mississippi.

If the estimate proves correct, it would make Katrina the worst natural disaster in the United States since at least the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, which was blamed for anywhere from about 500 to 6,000 deaths. Katrina would also be the nation's deadliest hurricane since 1900, when a storm in Galveston, Texas, killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people.

Nagin called for a total evacuation of New Orleans, saying the city had become uninhabitable for the 50,000 to 100,000 who remained behind after the city of nearly half a million people was ordered cleared out over the weekend.

The mayor said that it will be two or three months before the city was functioning again and that people would not be allowed back into their homes for at least a month or two.

- AP

web page (http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/new-orleans-slides-into-anarchy/2005/09/02/1125302713825.html)

rukiddingme
09-03-2005, 04:39 AM
People are asking where is the National Guard?
The National Guard is in Iraq protecting Iraquis against themselves.
ruk