August 30, 2005
Bush AWOL as New Orleans drowns
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Rescuers along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast pushed aside the dead to reach the living Tuesday in a race against time and rising waters, while New Orleans sank deeper into crisis and Louisiana's governor ordered storm refugees out of this drowning city.
Two levees broke and sent water coursing into the streets of the Big Easy a full day after New Orleans appeared to have escaped widespread destruction from Hurricane Katrina. An estimated 80 percent of the below-sea-level city was under water, up to 20 feet deep in places, with miles and miles of homes swamped.
“The situation is untenable,” Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. “It's just heartbreaking.”
One Mississippi county alone said its death toll was at least 100, and officials are “very, very worried that this is going to go a lot higher,” said Joe Spraggins, civil defense director for Harrison County, home to Biloxi and Gulfport.
… The flooding in New Orleans grew worse by the minute, prompting the evacuation of hotels and hospitals and an audacious plan to drop huge sandbags from helicopters to close up one of the breached levees. At the same time, looting broke out in some neighborhoods, the sweltering city of 480,000 had no drinkable water, and the electricity could be out for weeks.
With water rising perilously inside the Superdome, Blanco said the tens of thousands of refugees now huddled there and other shelters in New Orleans would have to be evacuated.
And the president? Lobbying for the oil industry in California…
CORONADO, Calif. (AP) – President Bush on Tuesday answered growing anti-war protests with a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields that he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.
… A one-time oilman, Bush has rejected charges that the war in Iraq is a struggle to control the nation's vast oil wealth.
Then on to Crawford and D.C… but not the disaster zone:
Following his speech at the naval base to commemmorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II, the President will fly to his ranch in Crawford, Tx. before returning to Washington on Wednesday morning. Once there, he will then take part in an inner agency meeting to get hurricane updates and damage assesments from officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others.
The President intends to visit the storm-stricken areas but hasn't decided when and where he will go.
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