Katrina: Thousands Dead in New Orleans
The death toll in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina may be in the thousands. Meanwhile, the mayor has diverted police from search and rescue to stopping looters.
With thousands feared dead and the city’s remaining residents told to evacuate for weeks, conditions deteriorated further in submerged New Orleans as looting spiraled out of control. Mayor Ray Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile. “They are starting to get closer to heavily populated areas Ã¢€” hotels, hospitals, and we’re going to stop it right now,” Nagin said Wednesday.
Tempers also were starting to flare. Police said a man in Hattiesburg, Miss., fatally shot his sister in the head over a bag of ice. Dozens of carjackings were reported, including a nursing home bus and a truck carrying medical supplies for a hospital. Some police officers said they had been shot at.
Earlier Wednesday, Nagin called for a total evacuation, saying that New Orleans will not be functional for two or three months and that people would not be allowed back into their homes for at least a month or two.
As outrageous as looting is, especially under these circumstances, it is comparatively minor in the face of this disaster. One would think rescuing stranded survivors would remain the top priority for the next several days. While we’d never know the toll, it would be a shame to have more people die because the police were out chasing petty thieves rather than looking for survivors.
crossposted to OTB-BS