Am I way off to think the reports havn't even scratched the surface?

Let me preface by saying that I believe that the US is the most capable nation, as far as infrastructure and resources, to handle a disaster such as Katrina within its own borders.

But I have a bad feeling…

When Katrina hit it was obvious that New Orleans dodged a freight train yet again, and while the loss of life and property was huge even on a hurricane incident scale, the 50,000 plus deaths indicated by the devil’s advocates stayed in the worse case modeling computers and out of the history books. 200 deaths was my high end guestimate

Then the levies broke.

My first thought was that this is going to shut down an entire city for weeks!! I have lived through a couple of hurricanes and floods when i lived in Houston and have an idea of the damage both can do. I also know that NO is in a bowl and that natural runoff and drainage was out of the question. Every drop of that water that didn’t evaporate would have to be physically removed by man from the entire city. And even though I have friends who live there and it is one of my favorite southern vacation spots, I was honestly more intellectually fascinated than concerned because I was, and still am, confident we can remove the water and rebuild to virtually post Katrina standards.

But I forgot about the human factor.

While i am sure there were thousands in the city that could not have left or even made it to a shelter, it’s apparent now that tens of thousands decided not to. Although that may not sound like many out of a city of that size, these people cannot just drive out like they should have Sunday. They can’t even walk out. they have to be carried out by the authorities and that is only if they can be gotten to and found before something happens to them.

Three days later I see groups of thousands of people without a clue of where to go and what to do. After three days you know you have to do something. Many will do the wrong thing. Everyone is foused on the 25 thousand in the Superdome. I have a bad feeling that isn’t even a quarter of the people still left in the city.

I don’t want this to be another blame Bush thread. There are pathetically way too many of those already. I don’t mean to accuse the governments of not doing enough. I have no clue what they need to do or how to do it. And surely am in no position to judge the adequacy of the efforts. But it has been three days and they have admittedly just started to remove people from the danger zone. And people are starting to die from lack of necessities.

Am I way off to see the death toll within the week to surpass 10,000?

Not sure about the death toll, but I suspect the long-term impact will be worse than after the 9/11 attacks. People were able to resume living in NYC in some capacity within a week after 9/11; with New Orleans, it’s going to be months before anyone can live there again, much less get back to normal.

i hope to Heaven you are.

But I have a sick feeling in my gut you ain’t.

And the gators & feral dogs will make certain that nobody ever knows the full story.


I think my first raction of New Orleans being shut down for weeks!! would have been worse that 9/11 as far as economic and social impact. Now we are talking 2-6 months.

Well, this poster claims to have heard an estimate of as much as 70,000 dead. I have been unable to find a cite, however.

The BBC reports here that

So 70,000 dead would leave around 10,000 people wandering round NO. I would say the 70,000 is somewhat of an exaggeration.

I suspect the 70,000 figure refers to all Katrina related deaths, not just New Orleans.

And my suspicion would be wrong, as I just discovered after re-reading the post.

I thought the point was that about 80% of the metro population (more than 1 million) evacuated before the hit. That would leave about 200,000. That, of course, is worst case scenario. The 1-in-3 number is also worst case scenario, but yes, that could work out to nearly 70,000 dead in New Orleans, making it a disaster at least 5 times worse then anything we’ve ever seen in America. Of course, we have no clue of what’s going on. How many died in their homes, either from the winds or the flooding? How many have died from dehydration? How many could die from infections caused by the severly contaminated water? From the lack of vital medical supplies that had been keeping people alive? Considering the newborns that have been seen on the news, have any mothers died from complications of childbirth? How long can the kid hold out if the only source of food is the mother and she’s having a problem staying fed and hydrated? Has anyone been shot? And so on and so forth.

70,000 has to be way high. My guess is a couple thousand at most, and probably less. It’s not like New Orleans got hit with a flash flood. Even with the water rising quickly, most people had enough time to get to a higher point in their house. And it’s not like the entire city is under 20 feet of water. You wouldn’t have the looting problems if that were the case. I realize that New Orleans is just a part of the scenario, but it does seem like it’ll bear the brunt of the fatalities.

I just meant that the basic math is right. I can’t imagine that it would be higher than maybe a thousand. However, I don’t think we’ll ever have a total body count until every single person is evacuated and can tell us who they are missing and until the water goes down enough that people can go collect the bodies.

In NO what’s going to kill people is the delay in rescuing. That could kill thousands from dehydration, heat stroke (if they’re hanging out in their attics), illness etc. A lot of the people who didn’t leave I bet were old and infirm - they’re not going to last long and they’re not hacking through their roofs to be rescued. In NO governmental disorganization and lack of manpower is going to be the big killer.

I think we won’t know until the water subsides. Then go house by house looking for half-rotted corpses of those drowned like rats in their own homes. It will get much worse the more we know

Just to remind people it is not only New Orleans that has suffered.


I think 70,000 people sounds like a high estimate. But I have no idea how order will be restored to the city, and it’ll be hard to evacuate people and prevent disease outbreaks without doing that.

If we could come up with hard numbers, this would belong in GQ. With all the speculation, it is more of an IMHO; it certainly has no debate.

Off to greener pastures.

[ /Moderator Mode ]

Trust us, we all know that. But the problems in Mississippi and Alabama are now basically what we’ve had to deal with before. Get the supplies in, roads clear, power and water working, and start cleaning and rebuilding. New Orleans spent the last two days filling with water with maybe a hundred thousand people inside. We’re paying attention to New Orleans because this is quickly becoming even more a matter of life and death as the hours go on.

I think the Mississippi numbers are vastly undercounted, and that the news repeating the 125 number is getting close to lying. A lot of those people decided to ride it out, and there houses are now on the other side of town.

A week? Unless you lived in the World Trade Center, most people in Manhattan could get along just fine the same DAY. In terms of a long term impact on people’s ability to live in decent conditions, 9/11 had none at all outside of those murdered in the WTC.

There’s no comparison at all between 9/11 and Katrina. At the risk of sounding like I’m belittling the magnitude of the tragedy, the 9/11 attacks essentially amounted to destroying some office buildings; the survivors were not left homeless, and the great majority (if not all of them) had electricity, water, food, means of getting out if they wanted to. Katrina has annihilated entire cities.