Friday, September 23, 2005

AP AND CNN have conflicting reports on the renewed flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Rita. Michelle Roberts and Brett Martel with AP write that "water is pouring through breaches in a patched levee" into the Ninth Ward, a neighborhood that lies even more below sea level than the rest of the city. Roberts and Martel quote Georgia National Guard member Barry Guidry:

"Our worst fears came true. ...We have three significant breaches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly. ...At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they've grown larger."

Of course, the Ninth Ward is a very poor neighborhood, and was very badly damaged by Katrina. The Army Corps of Engineers had just finished pumping all the water out, and now dozens of blocks are once again under 30 feet of water, and rising.

I hate to think about the possibility of people still caught in that area. An aide to the mayor, Ray Nagin, said city officials "believe" all the residents have been evacuated.

"I wouldn't imagine there's one person down there," Forman said.

Um, perhaps they'd like to actually check and make sure, instead of "imagining"?

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the Army Corps of Engineers is saying the problem isn't all that serious. Responding to photographic evidence from a CNN journalist that the Ninth Ward is under at least two feet of water, with more coming in, the Corps said that the water was spilling over the top of the levee, but there were no breaches. The Corps spokesperson said they were "not worried right now."

The Georgia National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers might want to try getting their stories straight.

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