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Daunting task of body counting after Katrina

Daunting task of body counting after Katrina
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As the floodwaters recede, rescuers face the grim task of recovering bodies, with the expectation the death toll is going to rise into the thousands.

Heavily criticised for his administration’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, President Bush is due to visit relief efforts again today – the second time in a week. Other top officials were in the disaster zone over the weekend, pledging to do more to help those who have lost their homes. One trapped resident said: “There’ve been people passing in boats, giving us whatever. It’s very beautiful. Whoever is giving it to us, I don’t know, but God bless them.” Authorities say Louisiana’s official death toll of 59 could rise into the thousands. Well over 100 deaths have been confirmed in Mississippi, with many people unaccounted for. Evacuees have now been cleared from the New Orleans superdome football stadium and the convention centre. Conditions had become unbearable and dangerous with reports of violent attacks, even rape and killing. Many people have been taken to Houston, while the governor of Texas says he wants to airlift some homeless people to other states such as Utah and Michigan. US troops have been trying to restore order in many areas, and there have been reports of police shooting dead a handful of people seen carrying guns. As well as police officers resigning, there have been reports of suicides in their ranks. Lawless misery continues for many people still to be rescued, and for those in temporary shelter, it is a case of doing the best they can. Officials warn it is going to take many months for things to return to some kind of normality.