Hundreds dead in Gulf Coast region.
Katrina, a category 4 hurricane, slammed into the Louisiana coast Aug. 29 and overwhelmed the levees in New Orleans, causing floods and, local authorities estimated, unspecified hundreds of deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees. While many people evacuated, media reports showed that tens of thousands of residents, many of them poor, did not or could not. The storm damage extended to coastal areas near Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss., and Mobile, Ala.
Flood slows emergency response in New Orleans.
Rescue crews from local, state and federal authorities floated and flew through neighborhoods of the city, searching for stranded residents. Media reports showed people being rescued from rooftops after cutting holes in their roofs to escape. Others took refuge in local hospitals, in a city convention center and in the Louisiana Superdome, where about 25,000 were temporarily housed. Throughout the city, conditions deteriorated rapidly; looting was reported, and some people died as a result of lack of food or medical care. Other refugees were marooned on Interstate 10, CNN reported. New Orleans major newspaper, The Times-Picayune, hosted an online bulletin board where flood survivors could post messages in search of missing loved ones.
Sports arenas house refugees.
Aug. 28th's mandatory evacuation order meant that about 25,000 people in New Orleans who didn't have the means to evacuate were corralled into the Louisiana Superdome. The Superdome lost electricity and part of the roof caved in. Looting, violence and unsanitary conditions were reported, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said. National Guard members, local police and sheriff's deputies patrolled the stadium to maintain order. The Superdome was later evacuated with inhabitants bused to the Houston Astrodome, which quickly filled to capacity.
Buses and planes transport victims.
On Sept. 2, the Department of Homeland Security enacted an emergency plan to enlist commercial airlines to transport up to 25,000 refugees from New Orleans to San Antonio, The New York Times reported. The airlift, projected to take place over three days, was scheduled to augment bus transports that ferried residents from New Orleans to Houston and San Antonio.
Storm rips into nation's oil supply, job market.
Gasoline prices were rising before Katrina hit, but the storm caused prices to spike around the country, surpassing $3 per gallon and pushing the United States "closer to a 1970s-style energy crisis," The Wall Street Journal said. President Bush urged Americans not to buy gas if they didnt need it. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said it would release 2 million barrels of oil a day for 30 days to relieve the crisis. Oil wasnt the only part of the economy affected; a Congressional Budget Office report said the nation stood to lose 400,000 jobs as a result of the storm, The New York Times reported.
First-response critique begins.
After waiting several days for food to be delivered to those left in New Orleans, the citys mayor, C. Ray Nagin, lashed out at the lack of federal help in a local radio interview. President Bush acknowledged on Sept. 2, as he left for a tour of the Gulf Coast region, that the early response was not acceptable. Part of the problem was the nature of the flood. United Press International reported that the levees in New Orleans were not designed to withstand a category 4 storm, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Katrina left a 26-foot-wide hole in a sidewall of the canal on 17th Street, which flooded much of the city. The target of much criticism, Michael D. Brown, resigned as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sept. 12.