Friday’s Katrina Developments

File Under: The Aftermath of Katrina

Here are some of the developments from Friday, September 2, 2005, relating to the devestation left by Hurricane Katrina:

– One bus carrying evacuees overturned on a Louisiana highway, killing at least one person, and injuring many others.

– Hurricane Katrina may be the costliest natural disaster, ever, leaving all others in the dust… One firm, Risk Management Solutions, says that the totals from the storm may be at least $100 Billion. More conservative estimates have it between $20 and $35 billion.

– President Bush took a aerial tour of New Orleans, and toured Biloxi and other devestaded cities in Mississippi and Alabama.

– Various buildings in downtown New Orleans are now ablaze in fire. The city looks completely ruined.

– Helicopters have become dropping sandbags into the breach at the broken levee along Lake Pontchartrain. Engineers are developing plans to help drain the city, a process they warn could take at least 4 weeks.

– There are reports of people – kids even – being raped inside the Superdome. Additionally, people are being shot at and killed inside. Some rescue boats were hijacked, and the cops are being menaced, which is one of the reasons dozens upon dozens of New Orleans Police officers are walking off the job constantly.

– The House has approved the Senate’s $10.5 billion aid package. Speaking of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a surgeon, will be spending the weekend in the area as a medical volunteer.

Evacuations

– Both major runways at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport were open and 4 flights per hour are going in and out. Airline carriers are volunteering dozens of aircraft and crews are offering their time to help ferry people out of there. Residents will initially land in Lackland Air Force Bases in San Antonio, Texas.

– A caravan of at least 3-dozen camoflauge troop vehicles and supply trucks, along with dozens of air-conditioned buses, arrived at the Superdome to help take refugees out. There were many happy people, and many unhappy people. “They should have been here days ago,” said one angry man. But not everyone shares that sentiment… One woman was heard exclaiming “Lord, I thank you for getting us out of here!”

– Rescuers finally made it to Charity Hospital, the largest public hospital in the city. 250 patients were inside.

– Houston’s Astrodome is already full, having taken in 15,000 refugees. 2 more centers have been opened to accommodate an additional 10,000 in Dallas and San Antonio.

– The National Guard says that it may be a few more days before everyone is evacuated, saying that their first priority is to bring in food and water. “As fast as we can, we’ll move them out,” said Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore. “Worse things have happened to America. We’re going to overcome this, too. It’s not our fault. The storm came and flooded the city.”

International Support

When the Tsunami hit Indonesia, America was among the dozens of international nations offering aid and support. But have you wondered what the world’s response has been to us? Well, for starters, Cuba and Venezuela have offered aid, dispite our less-than-cozy relationships with them. Australia will donate $8 million to the US Red Cross. “The United States is so often at the forefront of international aid efforts to help less fortunate nations,” said oreign Minister Alexander Downer. “So it is only fitting that Australia should contribute to the daunting task of helping the thousands of American citizens whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by this unprecedented disaster.”

Japan will contribute $200,000 to the US Red Cross. And upon request, Japan is prepared to provide up to $300,000 in tents, blankets, power generators, portable water tanks, and other equipment.

Orleans, Paris, is rallying to help it’s American namesake. It’s planning to donate money raised from ticket sales at local sports matches to help victims in New Orleans, USA. Orleans, Paris, has offered to take in 50 students from the University of New Orleans for the school year. It is working wht the US to find out what other aid it can provide.

Here’s a list from the AP of nations that have offered aid: Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Guatemala, Paraguay, Belgium, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Italy, Guyana, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Lithuania, Spain, Dominica, Norway, Cuba and Bahamas.

Telethons and Charity Concerts

On Friday night, NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC simulcasted a telethon for victims of Hurricane Katrina. On September 9, ABC, CBS, FOX, WB, and UPN will air Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast. It will air from 8-9, commercial free, and will be avaliable to any other network or radio station or website for airing. Ellen DeGeneres, who was born in the New Orleans area, is expected to host.

And the next day, Sept. 10, MTV, VH1, and CMT will air ReAct Now: Music & Relief, a multi-city, multi-artist concert telethon. BET has another telethon in the works.

And Jerry Lewis announced that his annual Labor Day Telethon will also help benefit Katrina vistims, in addition to helping out those afflicted with MS.

More news to come at some point on Saturday….

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