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US fears Gustav will hit New Orleans

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US fears Gustav will hit New Orleans

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Hurricane Gustav has continued to stomp through the Caribbean. It is closing in on Jamaica and Cuba and its most likely US landfall on Monday is the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans.

In Haiti and its neighbour, the Dominican Republic, 23 people died. Seeing the damage already done by Gustav, Louisiana declared a state of emergency and could start evacuating people from New Orleans as early as Friday.

It is almost exactly three years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast killing nearly 1,500 people. For the moment, Gustav has weakened to a tropical storm, but it is on a path that forecasters said will allow it to regain strength over the deep warm waters south of Cuba.

Cuba is already feeling the effects and officials have evacuated around 50,000 people from flood-prone areas in the east of the country. And, with the oil rig studded Gulf of Mexico also potentially on Gustav’s path, crude oil prices continue to rise.