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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 10:15, September 07, 2005
Feature: "Where can I go?"
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"I was born here and my home's here. Where can I go?" a Hurricane Katrina victim at the French Quarters of New Orleans, a city in the southern US state of Louisiana, replied when he was asked Tuesday why he did not evacuate as others.

As the US Army Corps of Engineers plugged the levee breach that let in water flooding much of the city, floodwaters began to recede Tuesday. Rescuers, meanwhile, have started door-to-door search operations for any people who were stranded or chose to stay at home.

Around 1 million people have been evacuated from New Orleans and its surrounding areas, with about 200,000 of them to Texas, Daniel Martinez, an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Xinhua.

The number of people rescued and evacuated, however, was getting smaller, he said.

The search-and-rescue teams are tasked to find any people still staying inside the hurricane-ravaged area, and persuade them to leave if they want to stay, said Martinez.

If the victims do not want to leave, the teams cannot force them to, he said. However, no relief materials, such as food and water, would be provided for these people, he added.

Several black people were standing in the hallway of a three- story inn in the French Quarters. "Why don't you evacuate as others do?" they were asked.

"We have nowhere to go. This is our home. My children are here. If I leave here, I would have nothing left," one of them replied.

A paper board was erected on the roadside. "Help. Need ice, water and food," the board reads.

Martinez said this might be the last time the search-and-rescue teams were operating in the area. "This might be their (hurricane victims) last chance to leave," he said.

Until they got on aboard the plane or bus, the hurricane victims had no way to know where were going, Nathan Broshere, a US Air Force officer, told Xinhua.

Edward Thorpe, a hurricane victim, said his eldest daughter and two grandchildren had evacuated to Mississippi, but his wife wanted to stay, and he wanted to stay with his wife.

The number of people that had stayed with him was getting smaller and smaller. "We had 12 people the day before yesterday, and eight people yesterday," he said.

"I would evacuate if I were forced to do so," said Thorpe, who said he had prepared enough food and water for a couple of weeks.

Fewer than 10,000 people were still left in the city, according to Deputy Police Superintendent Riley. "There is nothing here for them and no reason for them to stay, no food, no jobs, nothing," he said.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin estimated that the number of death toll in the city from Katrina, which struck the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama late August, might be 10,000. " It wouldn't be unreasonable to have 10,000," he said in an interview with NBC "Today" on Monday.

Source: Xinhua

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