Progress Made on Katrina Evacuations
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2005 U.S. troops continue to comb New Orleans for hurricane survivors as local officials enforce a mandatory evacuation order.
U.S. troops are also helping Katrina survivors as they move to new areas.
News reports indicate that many of the people who rode out Katrina in New Orleans are heeding the latest evacuation order.
Northern Command officials said there are now 66,315 active-duty and National Guard personnel assigned to the response effort: 20,895 active duty and 45,420 National Guard. Twenty-four Navy and Coast Guard ships are assigned to the effort. DoD officials speaking on background said the number of troops in the region will exceed 70,000 in the next two days.
The headquarters for the military effort has shifted to the USS Iwo Jima, docked in New Orleans. The Navy amphibious assault ship allows commanders and their civilian counterparts to communicate with rescuers and assistance personnel across the region.
To date, military personnel have delivered more than 24.2 million liters of water, 67 million pounds of ice, and 13.6 million individually packaged military rations to areas in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Nations around the world are helping with the relief effort, U.S. Northern Command officials said in a release. Canada has divers helping to clear the channel to Gulfport, Miss. The 5th Army, headquarter in San Antonio, welcomed troops from the Mexican Army as they delivered aid. China donated tents, generators, linens and children's clothing. In all, more than 90 countries and international organizations have indicated they want to help the survivors.
U.S. officials have opened military bases and reserve centers as survivor centers, and the Military Sealift Command has chartered three cruise ships capable of housing more than 7,000 survivors.
Broken gas mains and masses of rubble have made fires a threat in the region, local officials in New Orleans said. Two specially equipped Air Force C-130 aircraft are at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., available to fly firefighting missions assigned by regional fire officials. Helicopters are flying missions in support of the New Orleans fire chief.