Conditions deteriorate at Superdome

The Louisiana Superdome, always referred to as a “shelter of last resort.” must be evacuated[*1] as conditions worsen there.

The governor has said she wants the dome empty in two days and a spokesman for the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness says it’ll happen. But Lieutenant Kevin Cowan (KOW’-uhn) declined to disclose specific plans. He says the dome really is more of a shelter of last resort and was never intended as a primary evacuation location.

Reports indicate as many as 30,000 to 60,000 refugees are in and around the immediate Superdome area. The relocation effort will be massive. Officials are still considering where to move the refugees[*2] .

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was considering putting people on cruise ships, in tent cities, mobile home parks, and so-called floating dormitories – boats the agency uses to house its own employees.

Update: Fox News reports that the Superdome refugees will be relocated to Houston’s Astrodome.

Levee breaches continue to flood New Orleans

The New Orleans levee system has suffered at least three breaches[*1] and water continues to pour in to the city of 500,000 people. Contrary to prior reports, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not suspended efforts[*2] to seal the largest breach, in the 17th Street Levee, with 3000-pound sand bags dropped from helecopters.

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that everything depends on closing the levee breaches. Most of New Orleans is below the natural water level of Lake Ponchatrain, so it will not go down by itself. The water will need to be pumped out, and they won’t be able to start that until the levees are repaired.

Iraqis are standing up

Christian Science Monitor reports “good news”[*1] about an Iraqi Army unit:

The 2/2 is hardly like an American battalion. Its troops conduct patrols in unarmored pickup trucks, and the chain of command is still too top-heavy, in the American view.

However, an Iraqi formation can fight the insurgents in an efficient manner, Theya says. “We have a dialogue with people. If I find an explosive device, we’ll close the road, and also close all the shops along it,” he says. “So if people work with us, they help themselves.”

Similar tactics by US troops tend to feed local hostility. Iraqi soldiers are inherently less provocative, Theya says, citing cultural affinities among all Arab Iraqis, whether Sunni or Shiite.

This is the progress that the anti-war people want to stop.

New Orleans is flooding, under martial law

Jefferson Parish in Louisiana is under martial law[*1] .

Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said on CBS that it would be “quite a while” before evacuees can return. In some places, “it will be weeks at least before people can get back.”

The city “is going to be incredibly dangerous” due to structural damage to homes, diseases from animal carcasses and chemicals in homes, Brown said.

Flood waters are still rising in New Orleans. There are reports that the 17th Street levee in New Orleans has a “two-block wide break.” Things appear to be deteriorating rapidly in New Orleans. The early assertions that the city had “dodged a bullet” appear to be premature.

Prayers and donations to the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, or other reputable charitable organizations are the rule of the day. Give blood if you can.There will be no Morning Whip today…frankly, the developing Katrina disaster is the only story worth reporting today.

UT, SDSU women’s volleyball

Tennessee defeats Lipscomb in the season opener[*1] .

In each of the first two games, the Lady Vols held commanding 10-5 leads before putting each game away with substantial runs: 13-0 in the first game and 9-0 in the second. The third was a different matter, however, as Lipscomb kept the match close throughout the early going, taking four different two-point leads, the last one at 9-7.

South Dakota State won one of four matches at the Oregon Kickoff tournament[*2] . SDSU defeated Gonzaga but lost to Portland State, Eastern Washington, and host Oregon.