September 1, 2005
President Bush has appointed a cabinet-level task force to oversee the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. He admits the recovery from Katrina will take years, but he's confident that new communities will flourish and "New Orleans will be back on its feet."
Aboard Air Force One, President Bush got a bird's eye view of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. It made it clear to Mr. Bush that only the full-force of the federal government can help the millions of homeless victims.
"We're dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history," said President George W. Bush.
The scope of the devastation is forcing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to think outside of the box--it's an engineering feat to pump out all that water and get people to safe shelter.
"Everything on the table in terms of what we're going to have to do to recover from this disaster," said Michael Brown, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
People are still stranded on tops of houses and buildings. Racing against the clock, the pentagon has dispatched helicopters and elite seal water-rescue teams to bolster the coast guard's efforts. They have already rescued nearly 2,000 people. Navy ships are heading to the gulf, bringing medical teams. With water submerging at least 80 percent of New Orleans, the huge hospital ship, United States Naval Ship Comfort, will provide much-needed beds. An additional 10,000 national guard troops are being sent to keep the peace.
While stories of shootings and looting are rampant, there are reminders of the humanity emerging from the crisis. Volunteers from around the country--organized by the American Red Cross--are heading south to help.
"Someday I'm gonna need help, either me or my family, I know somebody's gonna be there. So that's why I'm here tonight," said Ron Michnya.
On another positive note, it appears Americans are reaching into their pockets to help the relief effort now, more than ever.
Reportedly, at least 33 million dollars has been pledged so far.