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New Orleans braced for hurricane

by
31 August 2012

by a staff reporter

AP

Stormy weather: crowds gather on a beach in Florida to watch rough surf generated by Hurricane Isaac

Stormy weather: crowds gather on a beach in Florida to watch rough surf generated by Hurricane Isaac

THOUSANDS of people have fled from New Orleans as a hurricane approaches the US city, exactly seven years after the region was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Isaac is said to be less powerful than Hurricane Katrina, but it has already killed at least 24 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and has gained strength, to become a category-one hurricane, as it made its slow journey across to the US.

President Obama has declared an emergency in the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, triggering the release of federal funds.

Eight-metre-high floodgates were put in place in New Orleans after the significant flooding and loss of life wreaked by Katrina, and the gates have been closed since Tuesday.

Storm surges, high winds of up to 80 miles per hour, and heavy rainfall causing flooding are expected.

In Haiti, at least 40,000 people were displaced by flooding. The storm struck on Saturday, causing damage to homes and livestock.

But despite the losses, in the diocese of Haiti, the Suffragan Bishop, the Rt Revd Oge Beauvoir, wrote in an email on Monday that Haiti appeared to have been "spared" from the worst of Isaac. "God has heard your prayers. . . There is not too much damage, so far. . . We got some heavy rains and bad winds. But by the grace of God, we are safe," Bishop Beauvoir wrote. "I have been in permanent contact with the clergy and lay pastors of the Northern Region where I am working, and all the reports look good, all things considered."

The Bishop of Louisiana, the Rt Revd Morris Thompson, wrote to diocesan leaders this week that while the forecast probably "brings with it more than just the normal anxiety associated with hurricanes, as it comes on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in times like this it is important that we keep strong in our faith and know that God is still God. So, as people are fond of saying, we prepare for the worst and pray for the best."

He emphasised the importance of taking precautions now "to protect ourselves and those in our care".

A special page has been set up on the diocesan website to post details as the hurricane progresses.

Other dioceses along the Gulf Coast have made similar precautions.

 

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