NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - Rescuers raced to reach stranded survivors of Hurricane Katrina late Wednesday as authorities battled to stop looters taking control of the stricken city of New Orleans.People are dying, and I just heard on the top of the hour news that over 1000 police were pulled from rescue duty so as to try to put a lid on all the looters. I guess the "Big Easy" was never known for scrupulous behavior, but I never thought it would sink this low. Amazing.
With authorities estimating hundreds of dead from Monday’s storm — and not even bothering to recover bodies from the floods, news that floodwater levels had stabilised offered scant relief as the enormous scale of the crisis became apparent.
President George W. Bush said it would take years to recover from what he described as one of the worst natural disasters in US history.
Bush, who cut short his summer holiday to deal with the crisis, flew over New Orleans and other hurricane-damaged cities in Air Force One on his way back to Washington.
But as night fell, police chased looters across the darkenened streets amid mounting pillaging of stores, carjackings and armed robberies.
The authorities said thousands of extra National Guard troops would be sent to New Orleans and the surrounding region in a bid to restore order as well as help the relief effort.
One nurse told how helicopters evacuating patients from a local hospital had been fired upon. There were also reports of men armed with automatic rifles opening fire in a police station.