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Gustav gone, but Hanna is on the horizon

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Gustav gone, but Hanna is on the horizon

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It is the calm after the storm in New Orleans. Officials say it is still too early for evacuees to return but there is huge relief that Hurricane Gustav did not turn out to be another Katrina.

Fears that improvements to the levees — the city’s famous flood defences — would be inadequate proved to be unfounded. Gustav weakened quickly after hitting land but was still a potent force. Up to eight people were reported to have been killed in New Orleans and the surrounding region.

Half the city is without power, the sewage system is out of action, buildings have been damaged and trees felled. But it was nothing like the catastrophic destruction of two years ago when 80 percent of New Orleans was submerged and some 1,500 people died.

The respite might be shortlived, however. Tropical Storm Hanna is heading towards the southern US states. It is cutting a swathe across the Caribbean and has already claimed ten lives in Haiti.