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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Second Night Approaches

You can view TV coverage at Khou.com. This is mostly of the situation in New Orleans, where levee breaks have changed a hurricane into an ongoing flood. They are still discussing how to plug the major Canal Street levee breach, but the Industrial canal breaches are letting water out of the city. One proposal to deal with the Canal Street breach is to fill land-sea containers with sand and lower them into the breach. I believe some specialized helicopters will be needed. A clumsy effort could worsen the break.

Miami Herald has a pretty good article which also has information about Gulfport:
Back in New Orleans, medics converted part of the Superdome -- already the steamy home of 10,000 people -- into a triage center for scores of the injured and sick, many of them found on rooftops and street corners. Some were sent to hospitals in Baton Rouge.

The narrow, debris-filled streets of the tourist-oriented French Quarter filled with more than two feet of water. Terrified by what they heard on the radio, some people ran down the streets, screaming and warning others.

''Get out of town if you can,'' said Ed Freytag, a city worker at the temporary City Hall complex in the Hyatt Regency.

''People are afraid of drowning,'' said Greg Reaves, 45, who tried to flee the city but turned around after confronting high water on Interstate 10. ``I think that's what's causing the panic.''
I think the reality is setting in.

According to the Khou.com video, the rescuers in New Orleans are just trying to get to whoever they can reach and are taking them to the Superdome. With poor communications, it is clear that as night comes some people will remain trapped in their houses quite possibly without food or drinkable water. The Superdome is surrounded by water and according to the Khou.com press conference, they will worry about getting those people out later. For now they are just trying to get food and water in.

In Gulfport/Biloxi (Harrison County), the suggestion is that it will be hard to even come up with an accurate casualty figure. Perhaps the best way to sum up the scope and confusing nature of the disaster is this quote from the article linked above:
In Harrison County, Miss., 35 people swam out of their emergency operations center with life jackets on. ''We haven't heard from them,'' said Christoper Cirillo, the county's emergency medical services director.
We have not heard from Boomr who reported himself on Sunday evening to be in Gulfport in a house a few blocks from the shore with his parents and perhaps his sister. This Reuters report cites a possibility of over a hundred dead in Biloxi. The storm surge was apparently 30 feet.

KGBT 4 - TV has a group of personal accounts in and around the Gulf coast. One of the ways to possibly get news is to file a request with the emergency radio network. You can do so here online.

To donate see this list of organizations with phone numbers from 10 KLFY. There are people marooned out there without virtually nothing to their names, and these areas are so devastated that many people will have to simply leave the area. Cash donations should allow aid organizations to fund rescue and rebuilding efforts but also to give money directly to people, which in all too many cases is what is needed.

The number of people out there in the area who have lost their houses, personal possessions, cars and jobs at the same time is uncountable. This is one of the worst disasters in our nation's history. Please give what you can.

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