New Orleans Mayor Says `Thousands' Might Be Dead (Update1)
Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said Hurricane Katrina probably killed hundreds and ``most likely, thousands'' of residents as
officials sought to evacuate 23,000 refugees to Houston.
``We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water'' and others dead in attics, Nagin told the Associated Press. When asked how
many, he said, ``Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands,'' the AP reported.
The refugees, mostly in the Superdome sports stadium, will be taken by 500 buses to the Astrodome in Houston 328 miles (508 kilometers) away,
officials said. It may be weeks before people are allowed to return, they said.
``There is nothing in New Orleans that will sustain them,'' said Lieutenant Kevin Cowan, a spokesman for the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security
and Emergency Preparedness. ``There is no water, no electricity, no food, no sanitation. People cannot live in New Orleans.''
Katrina struck the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida two days ago, causing what insurers estimate could be $25 billion
in damage. That would make the storm the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
If Mayor Nagin's estimate of fatalities holds, the hurricane could be the deadliest U.S. storm since one that swept through Galveston, Texas, in
1900, killing an estimated 8,000 to 12,000. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire killed 5,000 to 6,000