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Hurricane georges

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Hurricane georges

Hurricane Georges

A very massive group of levees may be all that

is in the way of lower lying New

Orleans and destruction with a visit from Hurricane

Georges. Without the levee system

and concrete flood walls Georges could have catastrophic

effects in New Orleans. But

with this man-made hurricane protection system protecting

the city people. New

Orleans is spared the casualties and damage past storms

have wrought. The levee system

is important because the city is like a saucer 6 feet below

sea level and is surrounded by

lakes, swamps, marshes and the Mississippi River. The fact

is, we are living in a large,

shallow bowl with a levee around it,'' said Oliver Houck, a

Tulane University law

professor whose major is water resources. The New Orleans

area and location have

allowed hurricanes and floods to prey on its residents

since as early as 1718. A year after

New Orleans was laid out, a low levee had to be

constructed. As the city grew, the need

for a better levee system has been a lasting issue. The

levees were built taller and

stronger, but hurricanes in 1915 and 1947 flooded the city

killing about 200 and 47

people. The current hurricane protection system was

approved by Congress in 1965 after

Hurricane Betsy killed 81 people in southern Louisiana.

Hundreds of millions of dollars

has produced what may be the world's most elaborate flood

protection system, said Jim

Addison, chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers' New Orleans

District, which builds and monitors the levees. The levees

along the south shore of Lake

Pontchartrain and other key areas are designed to protect

the city from a fast-moving

hurricane of Georges power. The levees work together with

channels that shift flood

waters to strong pumping stations. Then water is sent back

into the lake. But Georges is

moving slowly, meaning up to 25 inches of rain could fall

on New Orleans and the wind

could push the lake over the levees.

Hurricane Georges caused an estimated $1 billion

in insured property damage in

four Gulf Coast states. This made it the costliest

hurricane in the United States this year.,

The cost is nearly three times as much as that of Hurricane

Bonnie, which cost insurers in

the North and South Carolina and Virginia $360 million

earlier this year. And Georges

cost dominates the $25 million in damage from this year's

Hurricane Earl, which edged

the Florida coast, Georgia and South Carolina .But Georges

cost is not close to the $15.5

billion in insured losses from Hurricane Andrew, which hit

south Florida, Louisiana and

Texas in 1992. It's the nation's costliest hurricane.The

Projections do not include flood

damage, which is not covered by homeowners' insurance. The

flooding is bad news for

thousands of homeowners returning to their waterlogged

property and for taxpayers. Most

homeowners in the counties hit by Georges had not purchased

flood protection from the

Federal Emergency Management Agency, which means they will

likely seek low-interest

federal loans to help recover. Insured storm damage from

Hurricane Georges also was

estimated at $1 billion in the Caribbean. Most of those

losses, in a region where just 30%

of households are insured, came from damage to businesses.

Nearly a month after Hurricane Georges hit the

islands of the northern Caribbean,

bodies of the dead are still turning up in Haiti, pushing

the Caribbean death toll higher

and higher. Poor communications in Haiti delayed reports on

deaths, injuries and

damages from the storm. Its toll has risen to 213 and is

likely to top 240, a civil defense

official said Monday. Georges is now being blamed for

killing at least 509 people across

the Caribbean, including 283 in the Dominican Republic. A

report on storm damage from

Haiti's northern district has yet to be completed, he said.

Some 30 people were reported

missing and feared dead from the storm, which struck Haiti

on Sept. 23, Deslorges said.

Most of the Haitian deaths were blamed on flooding and mud

slides in rural, mountainous

areas. For generations, Haitian peasants have cut down

trees to make charcoal, denuding

mountains and leaving them unable to absorb rainfall. A

flash flood nearly destroyed the

southeastern border town of Fonds Verrettes, where 102

people died. Georges destroyed

thousands of homes and killed more than 56,000 head of

livestock, Deslorges said.

Finance and Economics Minister Fred Joseph has estimated

agricultural damage at more

than $300 million. The United States has provided $12

million in relief aid, Taiwan

$300,000 and the U.N. Development Program $100,000. Canada,

Germany and Japan

also have donated relief funds and supplies. Georges killed

five people in Cuba, three in

Puerto Rico, three in St. Kitts and Nevis, and two in


Hurricane Georges crashed into the Dominican Republic on

September 22, 1998,

touching off flood waters that swallowed up hundreds,

perhaps thousands, of flimsy

homes along a river bank in the Sabana Perdida shantytown.

The storm killed more than

370 people in the Caribbean over 200 in the Dominican

Republic alone - and four in the

United States. It also drove 7,000 slum dwellers into a

half dozen squalid shelters in the

capital, Santo Domingo. Damages to farms, roads and

buildings from the late September

1998 rampage of Hurricane Georges surpassed $1.2 billion in

the Dominican Republic.

The hurricane hit several large islands in its march across

the Caribbean, but damage and

death were especially heavy in the Dominican Republic. In

addition to personnel and

supplies from the United States, aid came in ...

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