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Hurricane Katrina: The Continuing Story

September 12, 2005

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After a weekend visit by President Bush, cleanup crews continued their dreary business in battered New Orleans and other areas hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans was especially hit hard because the levees that surrounded the city broke, sending thousands of gallons of water pouring into the city. A huge number of people have been evacuated and sent to other states (some as far away as California). Water pumps have been largely successful at eliminating the excess water, leaving behind the aftermath of the fiercest hurricane ever to hit the continental United States.

Relief workers are just now getting to some areas. The fear that had gripped the city in the two weeks since the hurricane hit is going away, now that federal troops have arrived to restore order. The American Red Cross has issued a call for thousands more volunteers needed to help with the relief effort. Tens of thousands of people are without food and shelter. People are sleeping in churches, warehouses, abandoned buildings—anywhere they can find shelter. Donations to relief organizations have been brisk, but the disaster toll will be staggeringly high before the cleanup is declared complete.

The city is returning to life somewhat, however. The main airport has reopened to cargo traffic, with passenger service expected to resume on Tuesday, September 13. The city's main wastewater treatment facility is expected to be up and running soon.

Other towns along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico are taking stock of the damage as well. Death tolls are expected to be very high, although officials won't know a final figure for weeks, perhaps months.

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