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Photographer's Note

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Guilty


Photo: One of the 11,375 refugees at their first hours of displacement to Astrodome in Houston. Another day without school. Another day without her own roof. Another day with empty glance toward nowhere.


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As the death toll rises, on 9-3-2005, US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in defending US government has argued that they did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans. However eloquently he said, in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years. Engineers say the levees preventing this below-sea-level city from being turned into a swamp were built to withstand only Category 3 hurricanes. And officials have warned for years that a Category 4 could cause the levees to fail.

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In the wake of Katrina, on 8-31-2005, head of the FEMA, Michael Brown, declared his agency had recently planned for a Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans. As a matter of fact, Katrina with wind greater than 155 mph has reached Category 5 of The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Same day, Mark Tillman, the pilot, brought Air Force One in over New Orleans for President Bush to evaluate the hurricane damage from the sky.

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On June 23, 24, 25, 26, 27-2002, the Times-Picayune published in 5 consecutive days their special report of potential danger of New Orleans City may be washed away at the hit of a hurricane of category 4. Here are the 5 articles:

*Part 1: In Harm’s Way
*Part 2: The Big One
*Part 3: Exposure’s Cost
*Part 4: Tempting Fate
*Part 5: Cost of Survival


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Back home from Astrodome after 4 hours with the refugees who survived from the flood, I received 3 messages in the answer-machine from my son in Memphis. I didn’t return the calls to him to avoid family conflict: his 3 calls have the same content, “Dad, I am sorry that I failed to convince you to not vote the second term for candidate George Bush. The death toll today is part of my fault! You and Mom and I are guilty because your president reacted too late”

2 days after my son's messages, the president admitted, "The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable."

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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