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Hurricane Gustav strengthens en route to US

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Hurricane Gustav strengthens en route to US


Having battered Jamaica Hurricane Gustav is gathering strength as it sweeps southern US states where New Orleans is marking the third anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Up to 10 people are thought to have died in Jamaica, pushing the death toll from the storm to around 80. It caused similar devastation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Lying in its path are the Cayman Islands and Cuba where warm offshore waters could give Gustav even more power.

Experts say by the time it hits land west of New Orleans on Tuesday it could be a Category 4 hurricane on a scale of five. Those fears have pushed up oil prices and workers have been evacuated from rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 100 rigs were wrecked by Katrina and Hurricane Rita which followed it.

But perhaps the greatest apprehension is in New Orleans where Katrina killed around 1,500 people. Officials there marked the third anniversary of the catastrophe with a sympbolic burial for more 80 victims whose bodies have never been identified. This time the city is better prepared and many of its residents already evacuated.

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