Tropical Storm Gustav leaves a trail of destruction in its wake as it heads for the Gulf of Mexico. In impoverished Haiti, 62 centimeters of rain took its toll, triggering mudslides and floods while wind and rain stripped vegetation from the hillsides. As many as 15 people died in Haiti, while eight perished in the Dominican Republic.
Gustav is currently threatening Jamaica, where it is expected to gain speed before hitting the Gulf of Mexico as a force 3 hurricane at the weekend. Workers on the offshore oil fields, which produce 26 percent of US crude, are being evacuated.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall early next week. As it stands, New Orleans, devastated by hurricane Katrina almost three years to the day, is in the centre of the Miami-based hurricane centre’s range of possible destinations. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has put New Orleans on alert for possible evacuation on Friday, and deployed 3,000 National Guard troops.
Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans – one of the oldest cities in the US – on August 29th, 2005, surging through the protective levies and flooding 80 percent of the city. It left around 1,800 people dead.