August 31, 2005
Hurricane Katrina is being called the most significant natural disaster in United States history.
Rescue efforts continue, as entire towns are washed off the map, and the death toll continues to rise.
In New Orleans, much of the city below sea level is now under water-- 20 feet deep in some areas --after two major breaches in the levee system. Hurricane Katrina's storm surge knocked out the main Interstate 10 bridge to the east and flooded other access routes virtually isolating the city.
"What I saw today is equivalent to what I saw flying over the tsunami in Indonesia. There are places that are no longer there," said Louisiana Senator, (D) Mary Landrieu.
All day there were rescues people trapped by rapidly rising waters. Flood waters are quickly being contaminated by waste, debris, gas, and bodies. Millions are without power or food. Looting is rampant.
"This is no time for this foolishness. People trapped, a lot of them hungry, don't have no water, and need medicine," said a person caught in the middle of looters.
They're grabbing anything that can be picked up and carried away. There's little police can do to stop them.
"We're trying to do as best we can with everything that we have," said a New Orleans police officer.
Louisiana's governor has ordered all rescue shelters to be evacuated, including the Superdome where thousands are jammed in the heat, and filthy conditions
Inmates moved from the Orleans Parish Prison staged an uprising and reportedly are holding hostages.
Biloxi looks like a war zone. The city's beachfront is demolished. Officials estimate hundreds were killed. The American Red Cross is mobilizing volunteers from across the country. The National Guard is on the way, but it will take time to get to the places and people who need them most.
The search and rescue will continue for several more days, if not longer, forcing state officials to continue to evacuate those left remaining.