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Hurricane Katrina: The Continuing Story

September 5, 2005

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Cleanup is continuing in the wake of the most devastating hurricane ever to hit the mainland of the United States. Hundreds lie dead in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Health care workers are working round-the-clock to save the lives of people endangered by the horrid conditions existing in the streets of New Orleans and other cities hit hard by the hurricane and its aftermath.

The death tolls as of Monday morning, September 5, were 161 in Mississippi, 59 in Louisiana, 11 in Florida, and 2 in Alabama and Georgia. These numbers were expected to rise dramatically, however, especially in New Orleans, which was especially hard hit in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans by now is largely empty of all the people who could get out. The city and its residents had undergone harrowing ordeals from not only the hurricane but also the breaking of levees that surrounded the city, allowing thousands of gallons of water to pour into the historic city. In the days that followed, looting and stealing and violence were common, as local law enforcement officials struggled for control. Federal troops have arrived in greater numbers now and taken over.

On Monday, some cautious residents were let back in to retrieve personal belongings from what was left of their homes. They were not allowed to stay.

State officials in half of the other American states are spearheading relief efforts, including relocation for families left homeless and penniless by the great storm. States neighboring Louisiana and Mississippi have already taken in hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

In addition, relief workers have come from all over the country. The number of Red Cross workers has increased in recent days, as more and more people from other states sign up for training in order to go to Louisiana or Mississippi and help.

Health care officials have been scrambling in recent days to stem the flow of diseases like tetanus. Of particular interest to many doctors and nurses is the possibility of the spreading of childhood diseases like measles and whooping cough.

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