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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Press awe at Katrina aftermath
The scene at the coastal neighbourhood of Pascagoula
A "terrifying panorama" post-Katrina

The scale of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina leaves many press commentators outside the US shaking their heads in disbelief.

While some focus on the environmental implications, others look at the growing political storm, and its potential impact on President Bush.

Colombia's El Pais

Today, in important areas of the Gulf of Mexico and, in particular, New Orleans there is a terrifying panorama of desolation and millions of human beings who live in the most powerful country in the world are suffering the tragedy of a catastrophe that is difficult to imagine.

Taipei's Taiwan News

New Orleans may go down in history as the first major city in an advanced country to be lost to the process of global warming... We sincerely hope that the Bush administration will take the call from Hurricane Katrina and reconsider its energy and environmental policies and replace ostrich-like escapism with leadership in the global effort to deal with the crisis of global climatic change.

Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao

This Katrina hurricane is a 'warning' by God over President Bush's reactionary behaviour on the Kyoto Protocol. The US government should wake up from this big disaster, truly take up its responsibilities as a great nation, and become the forerunner in protecting the global climate.

Australia's The Daily Telegraph

Katrina has wrecked not only the physical corporality of civilization. Now there are unmistakable signs in the hurricane's aftermath of the collapse of ordered society. Communication has become virtually impossible. There is no power, no fuel, no food. And looters are at work. This in the United States, the most powerful nation that has ever been.

Israel's Ma'ariv

The American meteorological service provided real-time precise information but the leadership failed in preparing for the anger of the weather...What is scary after Katrina is to see the biggest superpower in the world helpless, even if temporarily.

China's Renmin Wang

This hurricane disaster, while bringing huge harm to human resources and property for the residents of New Orleans, has also provided a rare opportunity for the White House to regain extensive popular support... the losses are far greater than in the 9/11 terrorist attack, therefore 'Katrina' has brought a most arduous test for Bush.

Sweden's Dagens Nyheter

The disaster is obviously a challenge for Bush... like every predecessor, he is thinking of his lasting reputation. And, if you will excuse the expression, he does not want to see that reputation blown apart.

Denmark's Kristeligt Dagblad

Every natural disaster comes in two waves. First the wind and rain arrives, then the political storm.

France's Le Monde

The disaster could become a trump card for the White House if it allows the Iraq war and its opponents to fade into the background.

Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung

But if he [Bush] fails to get a grip on the chaos within a few days, his words could become his undoing.

Germany's Die Tageszeitung

The fast and safe evacuation was white, leaving behind poor black people, as if time had stood still between the racial unrest of the sixties and today.

Prague's Hospodarske Noviny

Not even the monstrous Katrina will drag the USA into recession.

Romania's Gardianul

Bush's desperate efforts to redress the situation did not stop the virulent criticism aimed at his 'indifference'... on the first day of the hurricane [he] was still on holiday.

Spain's ABC

What is certain is that the tragedy has that has razed to the ground the states of Louisiana and Mississippi has shown up the weak flanks of a country which, taken up in the last few years with its imperial adventures, has ignored matters that are much more important for the well-being of its citizens.

Israel's Yediot Aharonot

Scores of 'mini' blunders in the giant American blunder that included loss of control, lack of a chain of command, heavy fog with all that has to do with the distribution of powers and the chatter-stricken elected public figures.

Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

We sympathize with the American people in their predicament after Hurricane Katrina. But the real hurricane is the Iraqi resistance that does not target innocent [Americans].

Brazil's O Globo

One of the pillars of the Bush era has been his ability to connect with middle America. Will Bush be thrown a lifeline, thanks to the hurricane? Or, disconnected from his popular support base, will he limp on as a governor that does not govern - the lame duck of American political jargon - until the end of his term?

Australia's The Sydney Morning Herald

Though its death toll is much lower [than the Asian tsunami], in one respect Katrina may be more shocking: the possibility that human activity contributed to the hurricane's strength... Even small changes in temperature can produce disproportionately large weather events.

South Africa's Mercury

There must be truth to the adage that when the United States of America sneezes, the whole world will catch its cold.

El Salvador El Diario de Hoy

It is difficult to make light of one fact: that climate changes are at play, which are causing increasingly violent events... Katrina was just a warning.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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