29th August
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2005 Hurricane Katrina Devastates New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina was only the third most powerful storm of the season, but the devastation it caused made headlines around the world. It was a category 4 storm when it hit landfall.

Despite calls for a complete evacuation, 150,000 are thought to have remained in New Orleans.

Whilst the impact on New Orleans was given priority in the news coverage, probably due to the breaking of the levee and the dramatic pictures of people clinging to the rooftops of the drowning city, the storm also devastated parts of the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana.

The New Orleans Convention Center and the Louisiana Superdome were used as a refuge center inside the city. The conditions inside soon deteriorated.

Television pictures revealed the victims were mostly poor African-Americans which raised questions as to the state of racial equality in the world's richest country.

The response to the disaster was roundly criticized as being too slow. The rescue effort only began on 1st September with people starting to be moved from the Convention Center.

The levee was fixed on 6th September by the Army Corps of Engineers and pumping out of the water began.

The total death toll has been put at 1,300 with $150bn damage to private property and infrastructure. 1 million people were displaced. 400,000 lost their jobs.

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Other News

1831 Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction, the founding principle of electric generation.

1952 4'33", a period of silence, was performed by an orchestra for the first time on this day, at Woodstock, New York. The 'composer' was John Cage.

1966 The Beatles last live performance was played today at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

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