2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 26, 2005
Hurnicane Rita falls short of fears NEWS IN BRIEF
Ellis Schouest, 73, gets a drink at his home at Cypremont Point, La., where he was trying to salvage some
of his belongings yesterday, following Hurricane Rita. Floodwaters rose two feet inside the house. He and
his wife Flavia have lived there since 1957, just before the first of many hurricanes hit their home. But they
refuse to move. "We're poor people. We can't do anything else," Ellis said.
PERRY, La. (AP) - For the storm-shattered Gulf
Coast, the images were all too familiar: tiny fishing
villages in splinters. Refrigerators and coffins bob-
bing in floodwaters. Helicopters and rescue boats
making house-to-house searches of residents strand-
WASHINGTON (AP) - The 14-hour lines of
traffic fleeing Houston - complete with cars that
ran out of gas - show that four years after the Sept.
11 attacks, it is difficult to evacuate a major metro-
Experts say the consequences could be far more
deadly in the event of a radiological or other ter-
"The nightmare that we all have is that, God
forbid, there's a terrorist attack of some kind on a
major American city that requires evacuation with-
out warning," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn).
"We need to be better prepared," Lieberman, the
top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security
Committee, said on CNN's "Late Edition."
President Bush has ordered the Homeland Secu-
rity Department to review disaster plans for every
major metropolitan area. Experts say the slow pace
of evacuations in Houston and New Orleans show
the need for changes to get people out of harm's way
in a more urgent emergency.
"You have to accept the possibility that a major
portion of the people will be left behind," said
ed on the rooftops.
But as the misery wrought by Hurricane Rita came
into clearer view - particularly in the hard-to-reach
marsh towns along the Texas-Louisiana line - the
lasting signs that emerged a day after the storm's 120-
Roger Cressey, a former anti-terrorism official in
the Clinton and Bush administrations. "You may
have to write some of them off in far larger numbers
than people realize."
Cressey said the answer is not simply giving local
governments more money to improve emergency
Lawmakers said they plan to address the issue.
"You would think four years after 9/11 with bil-
lions of dollars spent to improve our emergency
preparedness that the response to Katrina would be
far crisper, far better coordinated and not marred
by failures at all levels of government," said GOP
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who heads the Senate
Homeland Security Committee.
Cressey said there must be plans in place to move
the poor and disadvantaged. Thousands of them
were left behind in New Orleans after Katrina.
At least two people have died as a direct result
of Rita - a man in Texas hit by a falling tree dur-
ing the storm and woman in Mississippi killed in a
tornado spawned by Rita. And 23 people died dur-
ing evacuation, when a bus carrying nursing home
mph landfall were of an epic evacuation that saved
countless lives, and of destruction that fell short of
the Katrina-sized fears.
"As bad as it could have been, we came out of
this in pretty good shape," Texas Gov. Rick Perry
said after taking a helicopter tour yesterday.
Even with nearly 1 million in the region without
electricity, some coastal towns flooded to the roof-
tops and the prospect of nearly 3 million evacu-
ated residents pouring back onto the highways for
home, the news was overwhelmingly positive.
Petrochemical plants that supply a quarter of
the nation's gasoline suffered only a glancing
blow, with just one major plant facing weeks of
repairs. The reflooding in New Orleans from
levee breaks was isolated mostly to areas already
destroyed and deserted, and could be pumped
out in as little as a week. And contrary to dire
forecasts, Rita and its heavy rains moved quickly
north as a tropical depression instead of parking
over the South for days and dumping a predicted
25 inches of torrential rains.
Most significantly, deaths were minimal - with
only two deaths reported so far - largely because
residents with fresh memories of Katrina heeded
evacuation orders and the storm followed a path
that spared Houston and more populous stretches
of the coast.
Along the central Louisiana coastline where Rita's
heavy rains and storm-surge flooding pushed water up
to nine feet in homes, more than 100 boats gassed up at
an Abbeville car dealership Sunday before venturing
out on search-and-rescue missions to find hundreds of
residents believed to have tried to ride out Rita.
About 500 people were rescued from high waters
along the Louisiana coast in the immediate aftermath
of the storm and emergency calls were still coming
in from far-flung areas near the Gulf of Mexico.
evacuees caught fire.
Experts said authorities must be prepared to
turn two-way streets and highways into one-way
evacuation routes with maximum traffic flowing
out of the city.
Many people fleeing New Orleans and Hous-
ton were stuck in traffic jams while the side of
the highways leading into the city went virtually
unused until the end of the evacuation.
"I think we need to fine-tune the planning so
that contra-lanes are open earlier so that all the
outgoing traffic can go on both sides of a free-
way earlier than was done in Rita," said Sen. Kay;
Bailey Hutchison, (R-Texas).
"I think that will be our added lesson for Rita
from Katrina," she said on ABC's "This Week."
White House press secretary Scott McClellan
on Saturday rejected the notion that there were
Iproblems with Houston's evacuation and said
the president was told it had gone well. He also
stressed that states are responsible for evacua-
tions, although the federal government has a role
to assist local officials.
Iran calls U.N. resolution illogical
Iran's foreign minister called a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that puts
it just one step away from possible Security Council sanctions "illegal and illogi-
cal" and accused the United States yesterday of orchestrating the measure.
Separately, in a letter to Iran's ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahma-
dinejad, some 180 out of 290 lawmakers called on his government to cancel Iran's
voluntary suspension of nuclear activities and scale back cooperation with the
International Atomic Energy Agency.
The resolution passed Saturday by the IAEA board could lead to Iran's referra
to the U.N. Security Council for violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
- and possible sanctions - unless Tehran eases suspicions about its nuclear
activities. Iran insists its nuclear program is designed for generating electricity.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called the resolution "polit-
ical, illegal and illogical" and threatened unspecified punitive measures
against Britain, France and Germany - the key three European countries
negotiating with Iran.
U.S. helicopter crashes, kills five people
A U.S. military helicopter crashed yesterday in a mountainous area plagued
by Taliban violence, ki'ling all five American crew members. The U.S. mili-
tary said there was no sign it had been shot down.
The crash of the Chinook helicopter is the third this year involving the
large troop-carrying choppers that have proved essential in battling a rein-
vigorated insurgency in remote, largely inaccessible parts of Afghanistan.
A purported Taliban spokesman claimed the rebels shot down the CH-47
helicopter, but U.S. military spokesman Col. James Yonts said, "Indications
are there wasn't any hostile fire."
He said the chopper was part of a convoy of aircraft in the area and other
pilots did not see it come under fire.
Exit polls show Polish ousting government
Exit polls showed Polish voters ousted the nation's scandal-prone government of
ex-communists in parliamentary elections yesterday, giving a broad majority to two
center-right parties that have promised tax cuts and clean government.
Prime Minister Marek Belka's defeated government had said it would withdraw.
Poland's troops from Iraq by Dec. 31, though it might keep some officers there as advis-
ers. The challengers said they might be open to keeping them there longer if a "new
contract" can be negotiated with the United States.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland
Irish Republican Army fully disarms, aide says
International weapons inspectors have supervised the full disarmament of the out-
lawed Irish Republican Army, a long-sought goal of Northern Ireland's peace process,,
an aide to the process' monitor said yesterday.
The IRA permitted two independent witnesses, including a Methodist minister and
a Roman Catholic priest close to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, to view the secret dis-
armament work conducted by officials from Canada, Finland and the United States, the
aide to retired Canadian Gen. John de Chastelain said on condition of anonymity.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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"Mind Over Grey Matter," which ran in Friday's edition of the Daily, misiden-
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