NASA satellite photos show the New Orleans flood (with a "before" shot for comparison). The disaster just gets worse - a minute ago CNN was reporting a fire in the French Quarter, and there's "a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and still no clear sense of the death toll, though the mayor of New Orleans speculates that thousands may be dead. [Link]
The most pressing concern now is the potential for diseases to spread via stagnant water and unsanitary conditions. MSNBC quotes Mark Sobsey, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of North Carolina, as saying "you can think of floodwaters as diluted sewage." Hospitals in the area are in distress as generators run low on fuel. Officials are trying to evacuate over 10,000 people from the hospitals as new patients arrive from among the thousands of people in the area who are sick or injured. Meanwhile there's still been no attempt to repair the levee breaches. One the levees are repaired, water will have to be pumped out of New Orleans.
[Check the Extended Entry for additional links and updates.]
Added 8:06PM PDT:
More resource links via Nancy White of Full Circle Associates:
And via Staci Kramer:
[Addendum from Jamais:
I'm curious to know what sort of disaster management software is used by the city of New Orleans? Any guesses?
God is going to kill me for this.
But the first thing that springs to mind is "Grand Theft Auto."
Seriously, based on how the catastrophe is unfolding, I'm not sure if they did any planning. People who had cars and resources got out when the going was good, leaving behind the poor and infirm to swelter, starve, and suffer.
I've heard, anecdotally, that previous administrations were rather corrupt. Federal level planning was cut short by the neutering and starvation of FEMA.
In short, a total, hideous fiasco that was a long time coming and has really only just begun.
I am ashamed to be an American . . . but not as ashamed as the people in charge should be.
It was caused by several levels of ick.
1 The fact was new orleans was poor as heck and couldnt afford to build its own levee system up far enough. Heck the entire state couldnt afford to keep up. Dont forget the entire area is SINKING FAST.
2 Other far more important areas aka MOOLA garnered all the money wich is understandable as thats where the taxes came from after all. But the poor didnt move to those new wealthy and safer spots.
3 Flood management hogtied by years of escalating envirnomentist red tape was impotent and bloated with management but little real workforce or work to do.( nation wide not orleans itselfbut of course the two are tied)
4 War and a hunt for expendable departments to keep other departments funds safe.. aka buricrat survivor... flood control was voted off the table. And concidering the sorry state of flood control nation wide and the lingering environmentalist views it was an obvious vote.
5 More and more poor closer and closer to the ocean and no one bothering to ask... gee how do 2-300,000 people without cars move 100 miles in 2 days?
6 A nasty surprise that was no surprise and now we have maybe 100000 dead...
Is it Bushes fault? Well gee lets look at Texas where he governed... do they have such a sorry ass setup there? I dont know actauly come to think of it...
But hes pres now... ya and so was clinton and so was his dad and so was alot of dead guys all the while new orleans was a deathtrap waiting to blow...
Now the real question is now that we are getting all these poor people out should we ever send em back where if it happens again they will be trapped again? I say hell freaking NO! But I bet that happens and I also bet anouther hurricane hits in our lifetime and again the city goes down. Maybe after all the poor are dead they will run out of people to put in harms way? Or will they move 3rd worlders in to fill in the vacancy and provide cheap labor and cheaper deaths...
I am really interested to hear other folks thoughts on the causes of such a major hurricane. It seems as if another is brewing in the mid-Atlantic right now. The report that I read mentioned that the reason for the severity of the hurricane was because of the high temperatures of the sea water in the Gulf of Mexico - which is currently reported to be 30 degrees - centigrade? Can this really be the case? And if so - surely we should be very active in drawing attention to this. So far I haven't seen much linkage made between this terrible disaster and climate change. Not so much the Day After Tomorrow as right here right now.
Jeremy there's a story on various such theories over at Grist.