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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 10:48, September 08, 2005
Police force survivors to quit 'filthy' New Orleans
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Police are to force Hurricane Katrina's survivors to leave the city, which is drowning in toxic waters. Meanwhile, the political storm is growing over relief efforts for a disaster with a death toll feared to be in the thousands and a price tag that could hit US$150 billion.

After days of trying to change the minds of some 10,000 people who have refused to leave the flooded metropolis since Katrina battered the US Gulf Coast last week, authorities began to enforce a mandatory evacuation on Tuesday.

City Mayor Ray Nagin said floodwaters filthy with garbage, oil and putrefying bodies will spread disease and people must go. Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass said his men would evacuate residents, if necessary against their will.

"We'll do everything it takes to make this city safe. These people don't understand they're putting themselves in harm's way," Compass said.

But die-hard inhabitants of a city mainly known for jazz and Mardi Gras before it became a disaster area of Third-World proportions say they fear evacuation to parts of the country where they have no family or means of support.

Meanwhile, a storm grew over responsibility for delays and disorganization in the relief response after the long-predicted hurricane punctured barriers protecting New Orleans, built below sea level, from an adjacent lake.

US President George W. Bush said he would lead an investigation into the emergency operation, but he resisted demands for an immediate probe. "There will be ample time for people to figure out what went right, and what went wrong. What I'm interested (in) is helping save lives," he said.

Bush's response to the crisis was rated "bad" or "terrible" by 42 per cent of Americans surveyed for a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll released Wednesday, compared with 35 per cent who said it was "good" or "great."

After the days of delays, aid efforts have picked up. Water was being pumped from flooded streets after the US Army Corps of Engineers used rocks and sandbags to plug breached levees.

Flood levels in some areas were said to have dropped 30 centimetres. Nagin said 60 per cent of New Orleans was now under water, down from 80 per cent last week.

Meanwhile, tropical storm Ophelia strengthened Wednesday off Florida's Atlantic coast, following an erratic path that threatened parts of the state with heavy rain.

Up to 13 centimeters of rain were expected over the next few days from central Florida to southeastern Georgia, with some isolated areas possibly getting 20 centimeters.

Some computer models have the storm moving to the east and away from the coast, others have it going west, closer to shore, and some show it heading east and then looping back towards the state.

Source: China Daily

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