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September 2, 2005

Chicago Fire -- Johnstown Flood -- San Francisco Earthquake --- Hurricane Katrina.

The devastation, horror and human tragedy in New Orleans and all along the Gulf Coast east through Mississippi and Alabama to Florida are, in a word, incomprehensible. 

From the Washington Post:

Federal and local authorities struggled Thursday to regain control of this ruined and lawless city, where tens of thousands of desperate refugees remained stranded with little hope of rescue and rapidly diminishing supplies of food and drinking water.

The chaos that has gripped New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina showed signs Thursday of spreading to Baton Rouge and along the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast, as weary refugees continued their slow and confused exodus to higher ground. Fresh waves of National Guard troops began pouring into the region in an attempt to quell the unrest, but large swaths of New Orleans and other sodden areas remained essentially ungoverned.

By the end of the day, the American Red Cross announced that its hurricane shelters were full, with an estimated 76,000 refugees at facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arkansas. The official death toll in Mississippi climbed above 100, and Louisiana officials repeated warnings that thousands could be dead in New Orleans. The Energy Department said about 1.8 million customers remained without power due to Katrina.

Those left behind in the Crescent City, including many with diabetes and other worsening health conditions, clung to rooftops, gathered on overpasses and bridges, and huddled on islands of dry ground, waiting for help that never came. Parents carried small children, and grown children carried their elderly parents through the flotsam. Corpses floated in fetid waters and lay amid the crowds of refugees. Helicopters airlifted hundreds of seriously ill patients to a makeshift field hospital at the city's airport.

At the storm-damaged Superdome, faltering efforts to transport as many as 23,000 refugees to the Astrodome in Houston were temporarily halted after a gunshot was reportedly fired at a military helicopter. Authorities continued to struggle with incidents of looting, carjackings and other violence.

Access PULSE to read and see an extensive array of media accounts.

The nation and, indeed, the world has begun to respond to the call for help. Troops from the Delaware National Guard have taken their place among volunteer soldiers from many states and the federal military to restore order. Medical personnel, utility workers and providers of other humanitarian services are there or en route. Those who necessarily remain afar are contributing money and material. The provision of shelter at the Astrodome is symbolic of what is happening in big ways and small. Delaware State University has offered to receive students whose education has been interrupted. Many nations -- including Venezuela and others with whom we are not on the best of terms -- are giving us as we gave them in their times of need. As often happens, disaster brings out the best in far more people than it draws out the worst from others.

Gradually and painfully, the affected region will recover and then rebuild. There has been some suggestion that New Orleans will be an exception -- that the city will be abandoned. That cannot be allowed. 'Katrina' is destined to be a name forever etched in annals of history. But it should go without saying that the blow the storm dealt will be subordinate to the story of how it was overcome.

Rather than instigate a likely cutoff of federal transportation financing for Delaware, Wilmington Area Planning Council directors approved a third version of its fiscal 2006 transportation plan. Although the vote was unanimous, some council directors made it clear they were not happy doing so.  MORE

The long-awaited Wawa store in Claymont opened for business on the appointed day.  MORE


2005. All rights reserved.

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