Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina - massive devastation & over 50 dead

New Orleans woke up today to a scene of devastation. Flooding has swept across much of the city and the destruction to buildings is widespread. At least 50 have died, but a full assessment has not yet been made. New Orleans' Mayor, Ray Nagin said the flooding was in excess of 6 metres in places and that the death toll was 'significant'. Fifteen people were said to have died in one apartment building alone. The city has not only been hit by wind and floods but also by fires and looting. [BBC]

Estimates of damage wrought by the storm are between $9 and 26 billion. Fuel prices are likely to rise after the knock on effect of the cut in oil production. The price of a barrel of oil increased to more than $70 over the weekend, compounded too by an oil workers strike in Ecuador and further attacks on pipelines in Iraq. OPEC says oil price rises are 'unjustified',

Two rigs in the Gulf were adrift after the hurricane had passed, and another hit a bridge. Some refineries were shut down, including a massive complex at Baton Rouge. The ongoing damage to the infrastructure is unclear. Oil stocks were up helping European markets, but the outlook for the consumer looks bleak as pump prices rise. The knock on effect to airline costs and high street prices may also follow.

The US is not the only country hit by flooding this month. Flooding has also affected parts of Beijing, China [Yahoo News]. Over 900 people have been killed in flood waters in the country, so far this year. Twenty seven of China's thirty one provinces have been hit since May. And many parts of eastern Europe have been particularly hard hit by floods. Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Romania, Georgia and Croatia have all been hit in recent days, and more than 40 have died [BBC].
[12:04 GMT 30/08/2005]

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