Evacuation of 1.9M called a success

Sept. 2, 2008 at 7:45 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. officials, benefiting from lessons of Hurricane Katrina, said the evacuation of 1.9 million Louisianans ahead of Hurricane Gustav went smoothly.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said the mass evacuation leading up to Monday's storm landfall was the largest in the history of the state, with refugees fanning out from New Orleans to other parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and other states, USA Today reported.

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials told the newspaper they improved on their Katrina response by having buses, rescue teams and ambulances in New Orleans before Gustav's landfall, rather than afterward, as was the case in 2005 with Katrina.

"This was one of the most successful and most well-coordinated evacuations that I've seen," FEMA head David Paulison said Monday.

Officials urged evacuees to stay away form the area because clean-up and public safety work still needs to be done, The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans reported.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said, "Re-entry is only days away and not weeks," but promised that anyone who enters the city Tuesday would be turned away.

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