8/29/2005

Democracy Now! | National Guard Equipment in Iraq, Not Louisiana

Hundreds of Thousands of New Orleans Residents Flee Hurricane
As we go to broadcast the city of New Orleans is bracing for Hurricane Katrina, one of the most powerful hurricanes in the country's history. The hurricane made landfall at about 5 a.m. central time with winds of over 150 miles per hour. On Sunday New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation for the first time in the city's history. "I don't want to create panic but I do want the citizens to understand that this is very serious and it's of the highest nature and that's why we're taking this unprecedented move," Nagin said. Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled New Orleans. But tens of thousands could not -- including many who couldn't financially afford to. Thousands have taken refuge in the SuperDome.

Officials Fear City Will Turn Into Toxic Lake
On Sunday the National Weather Service warned the storm could leave the low-lying city uninhabitable for weeks. More than one million people could be left homeless. Officials are warning that the storm could topple the city's levees and canals leading to mass flooding and the possibility that New Orleans will be turned into a toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, as well as waste from ruined septic systems. As a precaution, the Waterford nuclear plant near New Orleans has been shut down. Oil and refinery operations in the Gulf of Mexico have also been closed prompting the cost of a barrel of crude oil to pass the $70 mark for the first time ever.

Louisiana National Guard Equipment in Iraq
The war in Iraq may also play a role in the recovery and cleanup of the hurricane. Earlier this month the Louisiana National Guard publicly complained that too much of its equipment was in Iraq. The local ABC news affiliate reported dozens of high water vehicles, Humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad.

Democracy Now! | Headlines for August 29, 2005

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