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In New Orleans — Terrible Visions of Catastrophe

Consider this opening paragraph from an article in today’s edition of The New York Times: Chaos gripped New Orleans on Wednesday as looters ran wild, food and water supplies dwindled, bodies floated in the floodwaters, the evacuation of the Superdome began and officials said there was no choice but to abandon the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina, perhaps for months. President Bush pledged vast assistance, but acknowledged, “This recovery will take years.”
More: And to the rising toll of victims killed, injured or homeless and jobless were added other plagues: possible epidemics of disease; overwhelmed hospitals and sanitation facilities, lost communications and transportation systems and almost everywhere hellish scenes of wreckage-strewn communities. . . . . The bulk of the city’s refugees were in or around the Superdome, which has become a shelter of last resort for more than 20,000 people. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana said conditions there had become desperate, with food, water and other supplies running out, with toilets overflowing and the air foul, with temperatures hitting 100 degrees and tempers flaring. It’s becoming untenable,” the governor said. “There’s no power. It’s getting more difficult to get food and water supplies in, just basic essentials.” She said she wanted the Superdome totally evacuated within two days, and plans were being made to move most of the refugees to Houston’s Astrodome, 350 miles away, in a convoy of hundreds of buses. About 700 of the elderly and sick were removed from the sweltering stadium on Wednesday, but they were being sent elsewhere in the state.
Think back to last Saturday. Could we have imagined such a report? The suffering in New Orleans is beyond words. The grief throughout the region is immeasurable.
TO CONTRIBUTE TO DISASTER RELIEF:  The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is the nation’s third-largest disaster relief agency.  In order to contribute, go here.
DOCUMENTING THE DISASTER: The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, BBC News, Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, The Times-Picayune [New Orleans], CNN.