Bug#151566: Lt. Gen. Russel Honore told CNN's "Late Edition" the death toll in New Orleans is unlikely to reach 10,000, a figure Mayor Ray Nagin had estimated based on how many people appeared to have evacuated and how many had stayed behind.
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Tough decisionsOphelia is the seventh hurricane in this year?s busy Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Peak storm activity typically occurs from the end of August through mid-September.Relatives in the crowd bowed their heads and sobbed as speakers uttered brief, personal messages to the brothers and sisters they lost, many voices breaking in sorrow.'Ring of Fire'The federal government Saturday abandoned its effort to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of bodies in New Orleans after CNN filed a lawsuit. (Full story)A front approaching from the west could push the storm away from the coast but the likelihood of that was uncertain, he said.He emphasized that officials still do not know how many people died in the storm and flooding that ravaged New Orleans.In addition, the effort to recover bodies was improving so the people could be documented, families notified and the bodies transported.The ceremony came as Hurricane Katrina left Americans once again struggling with a catastrophe that caught the nation unprepared and left citizens dead and grieving.The ground zero ceremony paused for moments of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time at which a hijacked jetliner crashed into the north tower, at 9:03 am., the moment a second plane struck the south tower, at 9:59 a.m., when the south tower fell and at 10:29 a.m., when the second tower collapsed.Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown, who had been leading the relief effort, was recalled to Washington on Thursday night by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Some people stocked up on groceries during the weekend even though Wilmington, on the coast of southeast North Carolina, had breezy, partly cloudy weather, said Warren Lee, emergency management director for New Hanover County."One of the things we talked about today was a single coordinating mechanism so I could take all those different forces that are flowing into a parish and make sure they were being put to the highest priorities of those parish residents and the presidents," he said.By 2 p.m. EDT, Ophelia was centered 260 miles east-southeast of Charleston, S.C., and about 250 miles south of Cape Hatteras with maximum sustained wind at 80 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. It had meandered slightly but essentially was stationary after following a wandering course since it became a tropical storm Wednesday off the coast of Florida.In New Orleans, New York firefighters helping with the relief effort gathered around a makeshift memorial for their fallen comrades, accepting the gift of a bell from a nearby church whose steeple was destroyed in the storm. (Full story)And in southwestern Pennsylvania, about 1,000 people attended a memorial service in the field where Flight 93 crashed after it was hijacked by terrorists.The Army Corps of Engineers revised Saturday its timetable for draining the floodwaters from New Orleans, saying the process should be completed in October. The corps said 32 of the 148 pumps in and around the city were operating as of noon Saturday, and Allen said pumping capacity is his top priority. (Full story)Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown, who had been leading the relief effort, was recalled to Washington on Thursday night by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Chaos inside, outside the levee wallsAllen declined to describe specifics of the plan to reporters, but said, "I think we know how to move forward from here." "We got a lot of good people on the ground here that are with FEMA and with the state agencies," he said. "They wear their badges, and they look good. But unfortunately, we just not have seen all the assets and all the resources that we need in our city."Hurricane Katrina had barreled into the Gulf of Mexico, and Mayfield's latest forecast had it smashing into New Orleans as a Category 4 or 5 storm Monday morning. Maestri already had 10,000 body bags in his parish, in case he ever got a call like this.Earlier, the president observed a moment of silence on the south lawn of the White House for victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001."The big thing is going to be what happens when the testing comes back -- the test results from the water that we sampled," he said. Compounding the natural catastrophe was a man-made one: the inability of the federal, state and local governments to work together in the face of a disaster long foretold.As the floodwaters recede and the dead are counted, what went wrong during a terrible week that would render a modern American metropolis of nearly half a million people uninhabitable and set off the largest exodus of people since the Civil War, is starting to become clear Federal, state and local officials failed to heed forecasts of disaster from hurricane experts. Evacuation plans, never practical, were scrapped entirely for New Orleans's poorest and least able. And once floodwaters rose, as had been long predicted, the rescue teams, medical personnel and emergency power necessary to fight back were nowhere to be found.Allen, chief of staff of the Coast Guard, said he had met with the presidents of eight parishes in the New Orleans area to discuss "the unity that is going to be needed to move this effort forward."Some people stocked up on groceries during the weekend even though Wilmington, on the coast of southeast North Carolina, had breezy, partly cloudy weather, said Warren Lee, emergency management director for New Hanover County.