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Rape And Murder Inside Dome Of Despair

IT is a nightmare landscape of roaming gangs and random rapes. Desperate, hungry refugees are forced to huddle in hiding from armed thugs who have killed for what little food can be scavenged.
This is how the richest nation on earth reacts to a disaster.
More than 30,000 National Guards were sent in to New Orleans last night with orders to shoot to kill.
Those who survived Hurricane Katrina inside the city's Superdome emerged yesterday from a second hell.
"They're raping babies in there," sobbed a haunted escapee to a television camera as she begged President George W. Bush to send help.
"They are raping women. They are stabbing. There were riots."
New Orleans has descended from tourist icon to something terrifying. A week after the first storm warnings and there are few signs of the sad order that was established after the South-East Asian tsunami.
There is only one small field hospital, a handle of water trucks and no central co-ordination of the evacuation.
And while Mr Bush has ordered a $10 billion rescue package, no level of government has been able to explain how the world's only superpower could have left a major city without a workable disaster plan.
Even the Red Cross has been unable to get in and get organised as they wait for military protection.
Survivors have turned on each other. The tales from inside the Superdome verge on incredible.
Inside was a mass of stinking, hungry, frightened humanity without water, sewerage, food or air. Strangers were crammed against others who robbed them, beat them and raped them while armed guards stood oblivious.
"The stench was unbearable. We were treated like animals," Baron Duncan said.
"There was shooting," she said. "Our lives were in danger. A seven-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy got raped."
"One man couldn't take it. He jumped over the railing and died," claimed Audrey Jordan.
Keshia Gray, a 28-year-old resident said "people were dying off".
"There were people shooting, fights broke out, the bathrooms were all clogged up and there was no water. Then the police started shooting. I couldn't stay in there."
Thousands were still waiting outside the Superdome amid at least seven dead bodies last night to be loaded on to buses to be taken to other cities.
Authorities in Houston, Texas, announced that city's Astrodome was already full it is now home to 11,000.
New Orleans' Mayor Ray Nagin issued a "desperate SOS" for help as Mr Bush sent in more troops and the massive aircraft carrier Harry S Truman to serve as a command centre.
No one denies armed gangs have all but gained control of the city. On the outskirts, white residents sit with rifles near the broken wood and shattered bricks that mark the sites of their homes.
But it is the disabled, the poor who cannot afford cars, the sick and the elderly who have been left behind in the inner city. And most of those left behind are black.
Some white survivors have claimed their race makes them particularly vulnerable the authorities say everyone is in danger.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco was blunt when she spelt out what the National Guard had to do.
"These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well-trained, experienced, battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets," she warned.
"They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.
"These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."
Police Chief Eddie Compass said he had sent in 88 officers to calm crowds waiting for evacuation at the city's convention centre but they were driven back by an angry mob.
"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals wo are getting beaten," he said.
The sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement.
An old man lay dead on a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.
"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair.
More pictures of Hurricane Katrina's destruction

The Courier Mail (3-9-2005)
Adam Harvey/ Kim Sweetman


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Rapes, Gunfire In New Orleans

REPORTS are emerging of rapes, street fighting and dead bodies lying out in the open in New Orleans as the devastated city slips into anarchy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Horrific reports have emerged of conditions at the Louisiana Superdome, which was used as a refuge for the city's poor and homeless. Witnesses claimed two children were raped and refugees had been terrorised by rioters.
There are mounting reports of dead bodies floating in the floodwaters. The Louisiana Governor said today she and her officials believed "thousands" would be found dead when the floods eventually receded.
More than 4000 troops have been called in to deal with the spiralling lawlessness on the streets after reports that armed gangs were on looting sprees in the city.
The New Orleans mayor issued a "desperate SOS" as city residents grew increasingly angry at the lack of food and evacuation transport. The historic city, which claims to be the birthplace of jazz music, is now being abandoned. Overnight, a rescue helicopter was fired upon by a gunman on the ground as military personnel tried to collect refugees for evacuation.
Hundreds of stranded people could be seen waving flags on rooftops in a desperate bid to attract the attention of rescuers, while thousands remained trapped in the city's Superdome stadium, engulfed by water.
US President George W. Bush has sought the counsel of two former presidents - his father, George Bush Snr, and Bill Clinton - as he prepared to make a trip to the disaster area to see the damage.
He also urged Americans to avoid buying petrol because of dwindling supplies.
"We all know this is an agonizing time for the people of the Gulf Coast," Mr Bush said. "I ask their continued patience as recovery operations unfold."
But Thomas Jessie, a 31-year-old roofer, vented his fear and anger after spending a night in the squalor of the convention center with no National Guard or Red Cross workers in sight.
"We got dead bodies sitting next to us for days. I feel like I am going to die. People are going to kill you for water," Jessie told AFP.
"This is America, I don't understand the lack of communications between the authorities and the people," he said. "It is disgusting, we feel we have been forgotten."
Keshia Gray, 28, said the scene in the convention center turned more horrific by the hour.
"As the night went on, people were dying off. There were people shooting, fights broke out, the bathrooms were all clogged up and there was no water," she said. "Then the police started shooting. I couldn't stay in there."
Officials moved to stave off mounting criticism of the response to what officials have called one of the worst natural disasters in US history, saying the flood waters were to blame for the slow progress.
"Let me emphasize, from the very beginning, and as we speak, rescue operations have continued and are continuing in full force," said Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff.
Officials said more than two million customers in five states stretching from Louisiana to Florida were still without electric power.

The Herald Sun (2-9-2005)

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