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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Hurricane Katrina: Readers' experiences
Reader Lee Lerner's picture of Mobile Bay, Alabama
Reader Lee Lerner took this picture of Mobile Bay, Alabama
Readers of the BBC News website from some of the areas worst affected by Hurricane Katrina have been emailing us their accounts in the wake of the devastating storm.

Downed telephone and power lines have made communication difficult for survivors of the hurricane.

More eyewitness accounts and experiences will be added to this page as they come in.

IHSAN MAHDI, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

My neighbourhood is under water.

There are corpses all over the city. The stores are being looted.

All residents of New Orleans are now refugees.

Now I have a taste of what people in war ravaged countries go through.

Please pray for us. My future is murky.

My children cannot grasp the scope of this catastrophe.

My friends are missing. Take me away from this madness.

JONATHAN HARE, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

I stayed in New Orleans during the hurricane because I didn't have anywhere else to go.

I was in a friend's house during the hurricane and a couple of windows were blown in during the storm.

But in the Garden District uptown, we escaped the worst of the winds.

After the hurricane we went to check on our houses and all were fine. There was some flooding but it wasn't that bad at that stage.

Most of the damage seemed to be confined to downed trees and power lines.

There was an atmosphere of lawlessness, the place was out of control. I was frightened, to be honest
Jonathan Hare
The flooding only followed afterwards.

I and two friends decided to get out before the flooding got worse.

There was also a very unpleasant atmosphere in the city, with all the looting going on.

There was an atmosphere of lawlessness, the place was out of control. I was frightened, to be honest.

As we were leaving town there was water everywhere on either side of the interstate.

We had to drive 80 miles to find a gas station that was working. From there we drove to Austin, Texas.

It's strange to have to flee the city you live in, especially after you think you have ridden out the storm.

But the situation is obviously very bad there now - there is no sanitation or electricity. Couple that with the fact that it's very hot, there is dirty water and mosquitoes everywhere.

I can't get through to anyone on the phone. I work at the Louisiana State University, close to the Superdome, but I don't know if it's flooded, and I don't know where my colleagues or friends are.

I think my apartment is okay, but I'm not sure until I go back.

Whenever that is, I'm not sure. The authorities will obviously have to try to get rid of all that water first.

JOSHUA NORMAN, BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI

The worst of the storm has passed.

Miraculously, we have internet, but no phones, no electricity, and no running water.

The building got a few bumps and bruises, but it held up.

Just looking out our windows, the devastation is amazing
Joshua Norman
There were a few scary moments and strange sounds coming from the cement roof.

The TV station across the street was wrecked. Their main transmitting tower came down and half the roof was ripped off.

Buildings have collapsed up and down this part of the Gulf Coast.

Just looking out our windows, the devastation is amazing.

I've been told to be wary of snakes, but my waders are made of thick rubber.

Looting has started, but the police are already back out on patrol.

I fear what I will find.

Internet is spotty, so I must be brief. I'm fine. Everyone at my office is fine.

I hope I can say the same for everyone else.

WINDI SEBREN, BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

My city, New Orleans, has fallen into utter chaos.

I am in Baton Rouge now. I have heard sparse, but hopeful reports of my own neighbourhood (Lower Garden District) but I expect that my apartment will be flooded.

I live on the second floor but the house was old - if the wind didn't get it, I'm sure the flood will have.

My life in New Orleans is over for the time being - I have to start over completely
Windi Sebren
I expect that I have lost everything, except for what I carried when I fled to Baton Rouge.

I have not heard from my boss, but my work was in a flood-prone area in Jefferson parish and I'm pretty sure it's underwater.

I work for a Mardi Gras supply company, and I'm pretty sure that Mardi Gras will be cancelled or at least greatly reduced next year.

Either way, I am almost certain that I am out of a job.

I love New Orleans and I want to go back, but I don't think I could ever go through this again.

I love the culture, the food, the feel of New Orleans, but this is devastating.

I can't even begin to think of the future, and whether I will go back, or even if there will be anything to go back to.

My life in New Orleans is over for the time being - I have to start over completely.

DAVID SCHNEIDER, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

My family left for Dallas on Saturday night - a 15 hour drive. My sister and mother arrived later.

Our home in uptown New Orleans likely survived the storm but may succumb to the continued flooding.

My sister's house is gone, she lived in one of the coastal locations where the eye passed.

My mother has 12 feet of water in her home, the same home that had six feet of water in it from Hurricane Betsy in September 1965.

I remember the flooding and our escape by boat 40 years ago, and am stunned that the loss has repeated itself.

My son will now witness the same rebuilding I did as a child.

We will return and rebuild.

I wish all of the citizens of New Orleans luck with the rebuilding.

CRAIG GILLIAM, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

My family and I evacuated on Sunday to relatives in northern Louisiana.

It's such a desperate feeling
Craig Gilliam
Though I thought it couldn't get worse when the hurricane ruined my 17th birthday, the days after are hurting much more.

I am seeing pictures and hearing news of after effects of the hurricane - not knowing about my house, my friends, about my life.

It was such a sudden thing that my family didn't think to grab a lot.

Everything is sitting in that house and slowly drowning under the Mississippi River.

Our family income has halted, and all cell phone connections to any friends or family are down.

It's such a desperate feeling, and I never imagined that it would make me angry to listen to all these new broadcasters talking about the area, because it feels like they are trying to make it seem like they care so much.




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