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Home >> China
UPDATED: 16:45, September 08, 2005
Escaping from Hurricane Katrina
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Hurricane Katrina inflicted heavy losses on the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The flood submerged the urban areas after flood control dams were breached. Some Chinese students who were not evacuated immediately were stranded in the city. Those who were lucky enough to escape to Houston, Texas recounted their personal experiences in evacuating from the flood besieged New Orleans.

Chen Jiajun, chairman of Chinese student union at the University of New Orleans, said that the reason why he had not left the university before Katrina came was that he thought the hurricane would be like the one in July, which was not so severe. However, when Katrina swept into the city, flood control dams were breached and downtown areas submerged.

Chen noted that there were nearly 100 Chinese students at the University of New Orleans and the number would be 200 if relatives were counted. Most of them had evacuated before Katrina came and few people stayed as he did.

After the urban areas were flooded, blackouts and the lack of network coverage for mobile phones prevented Chen from contacting people on the outside. Apart from listening to the radio, he could only get a few words from a Negro student. He had not made up his mind to leave the university until Sep 2nd. He reached St. Antonio after passing through differences places, and came to Houston with several students on the evening on Sep 3rd.

Now Chen lives in a flat in Houston. It is said that those students who evacuated from New Orleans will possibly be allowed to attend classes at the University of Louisiana and other universities with their credits recognized

Wang Wendong, a Chinese student who evacuated from New Orleans with Chen, said that he has been in the US for more than five years, and he was doing his postdoctoral research at the University of New Orlearns when Katrina came. He said he had no time to make a thorough preparation and nearly all of his belongings were left in New Orleans besides the clothes he wore.

There were also five other Chinese who evacuated from the flood-affected New Orleans with Chen and Wang, including one professor from Hong Kong and four students. When arriving in San Antonio, they received help from various sides, such as China's Consulate General in Houston and local student unions.

According to an official with the consulate, they have dispatched three batches of personnel to express sympathy and solicitude to the Chinese evacuees in San Antonio and Houston. The Chinese students there said the official has contacted local Chinese for them and provided them with places to live, and is also helping to search for Chinese victims at local refuges.

By People's Daily Online

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