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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Desperate SOS

Link:

Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday.
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Anger mounted across the ruined city, with thousands of storm victims increasingly hungry, desperate and tired of waiting for buses to take them out.
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"We are out here like pure animals. We don't have help," the Rev. Issac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Center, where corpses lay in the open and the and other evacuees complained that they were dropped off and given nothing — no food, no water, no medicine.
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About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob.
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A military heliocpter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet off the ground and flew away.
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An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered with a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.
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"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. "I buried my dog." He added: "You can do everything for other countries but you can't do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can't get them down here."
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The street outside the center, above the floodwaters, smelled of urine and feces, and was choked with dirty diapers, old bottles and garbage.
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"They've been teasing us with buses for four days," Edwards said.
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The Superdome, where some 25,000 people were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, descended into chaos as well.
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Huge crowds, hoping to finally escape the stifling confines of the stadium, jammed the main concourse outside the dome, spilling out over the ramp to the Hyatt hotel next door — a seething sea of tense, unhappy, people packed shoulder-to-shoulder up to the barricades where heavily armed National Guardsmen stood.
(...)
At the front of the line, heavily armed policemen and guardsmen stood watch and handed out water as tense and exhausted crowds struggled onto buses. At the back end of the line, people jammed against police barricades in the rain. Luggage, bags of clothes, pillows, blankets were strewn in the puddles.
(...)
Many people had dogs and they cannot take them on the bus. A police officer took one from a little boy, who cried until he vomited. "Snowball, snowball," he cried. The policeman told a reporter he didn't know what would happen to the dog.
(...)
In Texas, the governor's office said Texas has agreed to take in an additional 25,000 refugees from Katrina and plans to house them in San Antonio, though exactly where has not been


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