Amazing pictures coming from New Orleans

Search and rescue teams in helicopters and boats braved the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina today to look for survivors in the battered city of New Orleans, which was isolated and virtually submerged after water broke through two levees on Tuesday, and efforts were being made today to stanch the flooding with sandbags.

The hurricane has wrought incalculable destruction in the city and other parts of Louisiana, leaving thousands of people homeless and stranded. Today, the mayor said it could be months before residents would be allowed to return to their homes.

With bridges washed out, highways converted into canals, and power and communications lines inoperable, government officials ordered everyone still remaining out of the city. Officials prepared for the evacuation of the Superdome, where about 10,000 refugees huddled in increasingly grim conditions as water and food were running out and rising water threatened the generators.

The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, told reporters late on Tuesday that it would be three to four months before residents would be able to return to their homes, but in Baton Rouge today, officials questioned that timeline.

It was not the water from the sky but the water that broke through the city’s protective barriers that changed everything for the worse. New Orleans, with a population of nearly 500,000, is protected from the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain by levees. North of downtown, breaches in the levees sent the muddy waters of the lake pouring into the city.

A spokeswoman from the Louisiana Department of Transportation, Dana Newsome, said officials would try to seal breaches today with 3,000 pound sandbags and concrete highway dividers, and she added that other ideas to stave off the flow were being considered.

Ms. Newsome said Lake Pontchartrain lost two feet from its water level overnight, which led her to assume that most of it had drained into the city. An excess of two feet of water remains in the lake, she said, and it was likely that, too, will spill into the populated areas.

Mayor Nagin said that one of the levee breaches was two to three blocks long.”The challenge is an engineering nightmare,” Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” today, according to The Associated Press. “The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it’s like dropping it into a black hole.”

Go visit some of the Relief organizations and donate what you can:

Relief Organizations:

Charity Navigator: charitynavigator.org
Information on various charities and ways to donate to the relief effort.

Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW or www.redcross.org


Episcopal Relief & Development: 1-800-334-7626 or www.er-d.org

United Methodist Committee on Relief: 1-800-554-8583 or gbgm-umc.org/umcor/emergency/hurricanes/2005

Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY or www.salvationarmyusa.org

Catholic Charities: 1-800-919-9338 or www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

FEMA Charity tips: www.fema.gov/rrr/help2.shtm

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: www.nvoad.org

Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: www.la-spca.org

Operation Blessing: 1-800-436-6348 or www.ob.org

America’s Second Harvest: 1-800-344-8070 or www.secondharvest.org

Adventist Community Services: 1-800-381-7171 or www.adventist.communityservices.org

Christian Disaster Response: 1-941-956-5183 or 1-941-551-9554 or www.cdresponse.org/cdrhome.html

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee: 1-800-848-5818 or www.crwrc.org

Church World Service: 1-800-297-1516 or www.churchworldservice.org

Convoy of Hope: 1-417-823-8998 or www.convoyofhope.org

Lutheran Disaster Response: 1-800-638-3522 or www.elca.org/disaster

Mennonite Disaster Service: 1-717-859-2210 or www.mds.mennonite.net

Nazarene Disaster Response: 1-888-256-5886 or www.nazarenedisasterresponse.org

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: 1-800-872-3283 or www.pcusa.org/pda

Southern Baptist Convention – Disaster Relief: 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440 or www.namb.net

Glenn at Instapundit also has a great list of charities.

Not one dime for these scum of the earth tho:

With law enforcement officials and National Guardsmen focused on saving lives, looters around the city openly ransacked stores for food, clothing, appliances — and guns.

”We don’t like looters one bit, but first and foremost is search and rescue,” Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Wednesday. She said she has asked the White House to send more people to help with evacuations and rescues, thereby freeing up National Guardsmen to stop looters.

”We need to free up the National Guard to do security in the city,” Blanco said.

In the city’s Carrollton section, which is on relatively high ground, looters commandeered a forklift and used it to push up the storm shutters and break the glass of a Rite-Aid pharmacy. The crowd stormed the store, carrying out so much ice, water and food that it dropped from their arms as they ran. The street was littered with packages of ramen noodles and other items.

New Orleans’ homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, said looters were breaking into stores all over town and stealing guns. He said there are gangs of armed men moving around the city.

The Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart in the Lower Garden District had been cleaned out by looters.

Gunshots were heard throughout the night in Carrollton.

Police spokesman Marlon Defilo said an officer and a looter were wounded in a shootout. Defilo had no word on their condition. Three or four others were also arrested, he said.

One looter shot and wounded a fellow looter, who was taken to a hospital and survived.

Staff members at Children’s Hospital huddled with sick youngsters and waited in vain for help to arrive as looters tried to break through the locked door, Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher told the newspaper. Neither the police nor the National Guard arrived.

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wow. 3 years later, the water’s dried up, but those photos will never cease to amaze me. What a fiasco.