Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mandatory evacuation of New Orleans - hundreds of thousands leave before official order

The evacuation of New Orleans becomes mandatory at 8 a.m. today along the west bank of the Mississippi River and at noon on the east bank. Nagin called Gustav the "mother of all storms" and told residents to "get out of town. This is not the one to play with."

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: That will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life."

Nagin said those choosing to remain in their homes should have an ax to chop through their roof when the floodwaters rise.-

NVDL: If one good thing has emerged from Katrina, it is that the communities affected have moved away from complacency and developed instead a rational and healthy respect for these systems. Unfortunately, it takes a firsthand experience to learn this lesson before it is applied. I hope people affected will also help the helpless and infirm, and the very young.

TheOilDrum: We hope those in the path of this behemoth will get out of the way, prepare, and do everything they can to preserve human life. Let's hope this is all a waste of time and that this is not the human tragedy that it looks to be.

NEW ORLEANS — Spooked by predictions that Hurricane Gustav could grow into a Category 5 monster, an estimated 1 million people fled the Gulf Coast Saturday, even before the official order came for New Orleans residents to get out of the way of a storm taking dead aim at Louisiana.

Mayor Ray Nagin gave the mandatory order late Saturday, but all day residents took to buses, trains, planes and cars, clogging roads leading away from New Orleans, still reeling three years after Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city and killed about 1,600 across the region.

In St. Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans, residents begin evacuating Saturday afternoon. The parish was one of the hardest hit in Hurricane Katrina, and many of its residents never returned.

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