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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:51, September 09, 2005
More bodies discovered as relief funding increases after Hurricane Katrina
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Horrible evidences of Hurricane Katrina's atrocity began to emerge Thursday, as over 30 corpses were reportedly discovered in a nursing home in suburban New Orleans, Louisiana.

According to reports of US TV network CNN, the bodies were found in St. Rita's Nursing Home in lower St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm and flooding as Katrina struck US Gulf Coast on Aug. 28.

Meanwhile, some 40 to 50 people were rescued from the facility after being trapped within for over a week.

As the rescue-and-search operation went on, authorities believed the above finding is just the beginning of a series of thrilling discoveries in the aftermath of the killer storm.

So far there have been over 250 confirmed deaths in Katrina's wake, including 83 in Louisiana, as of Wednesday, but the final number is expected to be much more higher, given the fact that over 20,000 are still missing.

In New Orleans, National Guard troops and local policemen are going house to house to search for survivors and recover the dead.

Bob Johannessen, a spokesman for Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the country's front-line disaster response agency, has prepared 25,000 body bags in the state.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, warning that it's not safe to stay in the city.

Officials estimated that some 10,000 to 15,000 people remain in the flooded city, where floodwaters are contaminated with sewage, chemicals and decaying corpses.

Nagin said those who remained faced the risk of water, mosquito-borne disease and blazes caused by natural gas leaks.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday strongly advised against human contact with the floodwater in New Orleans, saying preliminary tests show levels of E. coli and lead greatly exceeded the agency's safety standards.

Meanwhile, after a major breach in the key levee separating the city from Lake Pontchartrain was sealed, members of US Army Corps of Engineers are racing against time to pump the floodwater out of the below-sea-level city.

With three portable pumps and 23 of the 148 permanent pumps in city restored for working, their efforts were sped up.

The US military said it will take 24 to 80 days to drain New Orleans and its surrounding areas.

With ground rescue and recovery efforts underway, the US Congress is mulling an emergency aid package that would spend well over 1 billion US dollars each day during the next month on housing, clothing and other recovery needs for hurricane victims.

As early as Thursday, the US House of Representatives is expected to approve the 51.8-billion-dollar spending bill under the request of the Bush administration, as the latest installment in the relief effort.

On Sept.2, Bush has signed into law a 10.5-billion-dollar aid package, but it will probably run out this evening under current spending speed.

In related developments, Congress also announced that a bipartisan joint congressional committee will be set up to review the response at all levels of government to Katrina and report its findings to Congress no later than Feb. 15 next year.

Source: Xinhua

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