In a bid to avoid the chaos caused by Katrina three years ago, authorities in New Orleans have organised a mass evacuation plan ahead of Hurricane Gustav.
More than 1,500 people died in 2005, and this time officials are taking no chance: “Again, I want to warn people that, notwithstanding the predictions, the storm can still change,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
“And therefore I would not let people drop their gard in Mississipi or in parts of Texas simply because it looks like the main hurricane is going to be impacting in New Orleans. Finally, remember that once the hurricane makes landfall it continues to be a dangerous weather event”.
Many people didn’t need to be told – an estimated one million fled the Gulf Coast on Saturday by any means available, to escape what New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has called “the storm of the century”. They will be taking refuge in the neighbouring states of Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.