Hurricane Katrina Aftermath Grim
Thanks to Thunderstorms for contributing this entry.
From Alabama to Mississippi, coastal communities suffered the wrath of Hurricane Katrina's extreme winds and 20-25 foot storm surge that wiped buildings clean off their foundations and deposited debris a mile inland. The mayor of Biloxi, MS exclaimed, "This is our tsunami," after seeing what little was left of the city.
In New Orleans, the mood was bittersweet as the initial landfall of Katrina was not a direct hit, but residents soon had to climb onto their roofs as levees were comprised, pumping failed, and the city continues to flood. Coast Guard helicopter crews who normally pluck people off of sinking ships in the ocean were pulling hundreds of families from the roofs of their homes. The floodwaters were high enough in some areas that residents could step off of their roofs and right into Fish and Wildlife flatboats.
New Orleans residents and government officials have thought about this ultimate nightmare scenario over the years. Despite all the brainstorming, theorizing and simulation, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina is turning out to be a disaster beyond imagination.
According to Disaster News Network, "Post-hurricane damage in Mississippi and Louisiana is massive and unprecedented, responders said, even before they could access some of the hardest hit places on Tuesday morning."
With the first light on the day after Katrina, people were able to gawk at the extent of the damage. Huge 3-story gambling boats, moored along the MS gulf coast were lifted up and the floating casinoes were then deposited far away on top of houses and beach hotels. The Superdome, where 10,000+ people took shelter last night, had most of its roof membrane ripped off and portions of the dome were compromised.
With the rising flood waters in New Orleans today, people were panicking and some were even looting stores. With law enforcement so busy with rescue and recovery efforts, much looting had to just be ignored. People should note that a convicted looter will get twice the normal prison sentence as someone convicted of regular burgarly or theft. However, in some circumstances, looting to maintain one's life -- grabbing groceries or water to survive -- is often a mitigating circumstance in the eyes of the law.
Gangsta wanna-be thugs looting a jewelry or electronics store probably face 20+ years, if caught. Looters tempt fate with police, but more so with store owners -- should they see them and just tap two in their chest. With all of the bodies floating around the city, a dead looter won't be missed, mourned, or be looting again.
Besides the normal dusk-to-dawn curfews enacted in areas affected by hurricanes, New Orleans is now under martial law. It is also expected that officials will not only order further rescue and recover operations tommorow at first light, but also a full-blown evacuation of the city of New Orleans, including the 10,000+ people already sheltered in the Superdome. With bridges destroyed and main highways flooded, evacuating people is not an easy task.
Entergy reports that about one million customers are without electrical service. It will likely be many weeks until electrical service is restored in some areas. Communication in the hurricane affected areas is also a problem. Land lines are down and cell towers are damaged or completely destroyed. Getting word in or out to people is a problem.
Some of the more helpful web sites:
WWL TV parish-by-parish forums
Livejournal New Orleans community
New Orleans Metrobloggers
Eye of the Storm blog
Eyes on Katrina blog
If you wish to help victims of hurricane Katrina, donating online is the best way. Go directly to the Red Cross or Salvation Army. Disaster News Net also has links to other charitable organizations and how you can help. I already blogged on Brilliant Weeds about one unique non-profit organization working in the area, Noah's Wish. I'm sure they would appreciate any donations you could make, too.
Posted at 03:09 am on Thursday, September 01, 2005 by Admin
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