August 30, 2005 in Nation/World

Storm shorts

The Spokesman-Review
 

How to help victims

of Hurricane Katrina

WASHINGTON – Most charities are requesting financial donations rather than goods or clothing. This enables them to use the funds within the communities that are most affected.

“American Red Cross ( www.redcross.org/) 1-800-435-7669 or 1-800-HELP-NOW

“America’s Second Harvest ( www.secondharvest.org/) for hunger relief. 1-800-344-8070

“Catholic Charities ( www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/) 1-800-919-9338

“Church World Services ( www.churchworldservice.org/) 1-800-297-1516

“Network for Good ( www.networkforgood.org) provides easy access for donations to a number of charities, including the Humane Society of America (for pets) and various chapters of the United Way in Florida and Louisiana

“Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/

- Knight Ridder

Katrina’s price tag

tough to predict

BATON ROUGE, La. – Just hours after Hurricane Katrina reduced much of the New Orleans area to waterlogged ruins, disaster officials were too busy concentrating on saving lives to talk about calculating the financial losses.

“There is going to be an amazing amount,” said Loren Scott, a retired Louisiana State University economist. “It is hard to measure the cost of business disruption or the cost of being out of your home.”

The BBC, citing insurance sources in England, estimated the insured losses alone could be up to $25 billion, far more than the estimated $14 billion of insured losses caused by Hurricane Ivan that hit the Florida and Alabama coast last year.

- The (Shreveport, La.) Times

Hurricane closes lower Mississippi to barges

ST. LOUIS – The lower Mississippi River remained closed Monday after Hurricane Katrina tossed empty barges, destroyed navigation markers and possibly re-channeled parts of the waterway, the Coast Guard and a river industry group reported.

It may take barge operators and the Coast Guard several days to several weeks to determine the brunt of the storm’s damage. The Mississippi River plays a vital role in America’s export economy because farmers rely on the waterway as a cheap source of transportation to ship their goods to New Orleans. That besieged city serves as a jumping-off point for overseas shipments. Fortunately, peak grain shipments don’t begin until October.

“This is America’s third coast,” said Paul Rohde, president of the Midwest Area River Coalition 2000, which represents industry groups that rely on the river to ship petrochemicals, construction materials, coal and grain.

“Essentially, the traffic caught there has been asked to wait on the bottom third of the river,” Rohde said. “It’s just not safe to be on the river.”

Coast Guard Lt. Rob Wyman said the lower section of the river won’t be opened until it is deemed safe. He said navigation markers probably have been destroyed or moved by Katrina’s winds. He also said river channels could have been re-silted, or altered, making navigation dangerous.

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

With no police in sight, looters wade into Katrina’s wake

NEW ORLEANS – High waters made law enforcement difficult but provided loads – truckloads in some cases – of opportunity for looters.

Midafternoon Monday, a parade of looters streamed from Coleman’s Retail Store, 4001 Earhart Blvd. The looters, men and women who appeared to be in their early teens to mid-40s, braved a steady rain and infrequent tropical storm wind gusts to tote boxes of clothing and shoes from the store. Some had garbage bags stuffed with goods. Others lugged wardrobe-size boxes or carried them on their heads.

The line going to and from the store numbered in the dozens and appeared to be growing. Some looters were seen smiling and greeting each other with pleasantries as they passed. Another group was seen riding in the back of a pickup truck, honking the horn and cheering.

The scene also attracted a handful of curious bystanders, who left the safety of their homes to watch the heist. But no police were present in the area, which was flooded heavily with standing water 2 to 4 feet deep on all sides of Earhart.

- The Times-Picayune

Louisiana officials promise

price gougers will get due

Law enforcement officers in Louisiana were on the lookout Monday for price-gouging complaints, which were coming in faster than they had expected.

Among the most serious were a Lafayette hotel ignoring a reservation price and a Baton Rouge company doubling the price of a generator.

“The average citizen is facing possibly the worst disaster in the history of this country and you’re going to take advantage of them for a buck?” asked Attorney General Charles Foti. “You deserve to be put behind bars.”

- (Opelousas, La.) Daily World

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