I've heard several people refer to Katrina as the worst natural disaster ever in this country. (It's also been compared to the recent tsunami, to Hiroshima, and described as being of Biblical proportions). I've no doubt from what I've seen that the physical devastation is greater than anything that's ever occured here -- although the Dust Bowl might give it a run for the size of the area affected -- and certainly the monetary cost will be by far the highest, however one calculates it, and whether or not one include the far-reaching economic impact, but we had all better hope that in terms of the loss of human life it doesn't reach the death toll of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, in which between 6,000 and 12,000 people lost their lives, even though it isn't in the top 10 of the most intense hurricanes.
Nothwithstanding the prior estimates of 20,000 - 100,000 dying if a category 5 hurricane hit New Orleans dead on (which thankfully didn't happen) and Mayor Nagin's comment about the the number of dead in New Orleans being "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands" (which seemed very much like an impressionistic and off-hand remark, not particularly based on anything concrete), I don't think anyone really has a handle on the deaths from Katrina in that city or, for that matter, elswhere in the region, so we can go on hoping that the Galveston event will keep its title as the deadliest natural disaster ever in the U.S.
The situation had become so dire in nearby Jefferson Parish that parish council President Aaron Broussard announced he was declaring it a separate country named "Jeffertania," in hopes that would speed up federal aid.
"Please excuse my cynicism," Broussard said. "I just can't take this ineffectiveness anymore."
Broussard said the rampant looting is the result of desperate storm survivors doing what they have to do to survive.
"The basic jungle human instincts are starting to kick in because they have no food," he said. "It's getting ugly."
Draining the billions of gallons of water that have inundated New Orleans could take three to six months, substantially longer than some experts have expected, the Army Corps of Engineers said late Wednesday.
Col. Richard Wagenaar, the corps' senior official in New Orleans, said that the estimate was based on planning done as Hurricane Katrina approached and that it remained the corps' best estimate. He is directing the agency's recovery efforts.
The estimate depends on favorable weather. Additional rain or other problems could cause more delays, Wagenaar warned.
"There is a lot of water here," he said. "The news cameras do not do it justice. And I'm worried the worst is yet to come."
Wagenaar said the evaluations Wednesday were sobering, leading him to believe that city officials' horrific death estimates given could be accurate.
The water is 30 feet deep or more in some parts of the city, covering homes. In the city's 9th Ward, homes have shifted and floated away, leaving nothing that resembled the city grid before the storm, Wagenaar said after a helicopter tour.
He said the corps planned to punch holes in levees around the city to hasten the drainage now occurring through the main breach that swamped the city after the hurricane. Levees on the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain and an inner coastal waterway are to be broken open in coming days, though "we haven't decided yet how."
After the 17th Street Canal breach is fixed, as well as three other less challenging breaches in New Orleans' levee system, the city's pumps can begin to push water into the lake.
At its highest efficiency, the pumping system can remove one foot of water per day. By Friday, when the city and lake drain naturally to 1 foot above sea level, the lowest areas of New Orleans will remain choked under 11 feet of water. That's a minimum of three weeks' pumping.
But it could take as long as a few months to fully drain New Orleans, Jackson cautioned. That's because the breaches must first be repaired, and the pumps restored.
Engineers will assess the condition of the city's dozens of pumps in the coming days. If they were turned off before they flooded they could be restored in a few days, longer if not.
The Corps must also fly in auxiliary power units to operate the pumps, which normally run off the city's electrical grid. This grid may not be restored for a month, or perhaps longer.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.