Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

Americas

President Obama marks fifth anniversary of Katrina

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-30

US President Barack Obama marked the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Sunday, vowing to support reconstruction efforts "until the job is done". At least 1,500 people were killed after the Category 5 storm caused massive flooding.

AFP - President Barack Obama, marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Sunday, praised the city's resilience and pledged support for rebuilding "until the job is done."

He acknowledged that the famed jazz city, where at least 1,500 people died in the storm and its aftermath, was still in need of support, but said community efforts had ensured "New Orleans is blossoming once more."

"Together, we are helping to make New Orleans a place that stands for what we can do in America, not just for what we can't do," he said in a speech at the city's Xavier University.

Obama acknowledged that the storm, which brought waves of water that overcame levees carrying homes and residents away, "was a natural disaster, but also a manmade catastrophe, a shameful breakdown in government."

"Until the job is done".


But he pledged that the region, struggling with the long-term effects of the tragedy, the economic downturn and, most recently the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, would be able to rely on the administration for support.

"My administration is going to stand with you -- and fight alongside you -- until the job is done," he told a cheering crowd.

Long famed for its rich music scene and its easy-going spirit, New Orleans was plunged into chaos on August 29, 2005 when torrents of water broke through barriers and gushed in.

Although 1.4 million residents and visitors were ordered to evacuate as the monster storm approached, many could not or would not and were left stranded.

A lack of preparation and bungled coordination forced residents to take shelter in attics, and then break through their roofs to escape rising water.

Footage of desperate Americans, waving signs reading "Help Us," horrified people at home and abroad. In the Lower Ninth Ward, the poorest part of the city, built in a basin and 99 percent black, bodies drifted lifelessly with the floodwater.

Many fled to the Superdome, the stadium where 10,000 people displaced by the hurricane had already sought refuge, but it too became cut off by the water.

And rescue services were overrun as the disaster that reached deep into neighboring Mississippi and Alabama unfolded, an entire region deprived of electricity, communications and drinking water.

Finally, the National Guard was deployed, and managed to restore a semblance of order, helping coordinate airlifts and bus evacuations that scattered survivors across the country.

Six days after disaster struck, the Superdome was finally emptied, but it took two months for the floodwaters to subside, and rescuers were still finding bodies more than six months later.

"New Orleans could have remained a symbol of destruction and decay; of a storm that came and the inadequate response that followed," Obama said Sunday.

"But it's a symbol of resilience, of community, of the fundamental responsibility we have for each other."

Ahead of Obama's arrival, the White House touted its commitment to the region, citing efforts to "cut through red tape," and help families still in temporary shelters find more permanent homes.

The administration said it had provided grants to bolster the local justice and health care systems, set up programs to improve handling of emergencies and rebuilt 220 miles (350 kilometers) of levees to pre-Katrina standards.

But many in the city question why the levees are being rebuilt to specifications that failed when Katrina struck.

And five years on, whole neighborhoods in The Big Easy remain abandoned to rot and ruin.

In the lower Ninth Ward, grass and wild plants surround concrete foundation slabs -- stone memorials of the houses that were washed away.

Five years ago, Robert Green was stranded on his roof. He lost his mother and his granddaughter to the floodwaters as the house broke apart underneath his feet.

He now lives in a house built by actor Brad Pitt's Make it Right foundation.

He would like to see the city claim the homes of those who have yet to return, even if that means changing the character of his historic neighborhood.

"The bottom line of it is, we need families, we need young life, young blood," said Green. "We could sit around and wait 20 years for people to come back, or we could realize and say 'So what? I have a Hispanic neighbor, a Vietnamese neighbor,' we've got to open it up."
 

Date created : 2010-08-29

  • USA

    Five years after Katrina, New Orleans still counts the cost

    Read more

  • BP OIL SPILL

    Obama takes a dip to encourage Gulf Coast tourism

    Read more

COMMENT(S)