Large amounts of aid are now beginning to arrive in New Orleans
Newspapers around the world see Hurricane Katrina's chaotic aftermath as a defining moment for the presidency of George W Bush.
While there is clear sympathy for the disaster's victims, many commentators place the blame for the delayed rescue effort squarely on Mr Bush's administration.
Mexico's El Universal
The slowness with which the USA's federal emergency services have joined the rescue operation has already generated great political tension... There is no doubt that the lack of well-timed responses to assist the population will have political costs for President Bush's Republican Party in the next federal elections.
Colombia's El Colombiano
It is now urgent that the world's leaders take heed of nature's warning, look at the evidence and realise that the climate, on a global scale, is changing. This is already known from scientific reports, but they continue to ignore it, to play it down, or not to care about it.
Katrina had more than the power of the wind and water, because, now, when they have subsided, it can still reveal the emptiness of an era, one that is represented by President George W Bush more than anyone.
Spain's El Pais
Up until Monday, Bush was the president of the war in Iraq and 9/11. Today there are few doubts that he will also pass into history as the president who didn't know how to prevent the destruction of New Orleans and who abandoned its inhabitants to their fate for days. And the worst is yet to come.
Spain's La Razon
Proving that even the gods are mortal, it is clear that the USA's international image is being damaged in a way that it has never known before. The country will probably be able to recuperate from the destruction, but its pride has already been profoundly wounded.
Bush had already been slow to react when the World Trade Center collapsed. Four years later, he was no quicker to get the measure of Katrina - a cruel lack of leadership at a time when this second major shock for 21st century America is adding to the crisis of confidence for the world's leading power and to international disorder. As happened with 9/11, the country is displaying its vulnerability to the eyes of the world.
France's Le Progres
Katrina has shown that the emperor has no clothes. The world's superpower is powerless when confronted with nature's fury.
Switzerland's Le Temps
The sea walls would not have burst in New Orleans if the funds meant for strengthening them had not been cut to help the war effort in Iraq and the war on terror... And rescue work would have been more effective if a section of National Guard from the areas affected had not been sent to Baghdad and Kabul... And would George Bush have left his holiday ranch more quickly if the disaster had not first struck the most disadvantaged populations of the black south?
Ireland's The Irish Times
This is a defining moment for Mr Bush, just as much as 9/11 was. So far his reputation for prompt and firm crisis management has fallen far short of what is required.
Saudi Arabia's Saudi Gazette
The episode illustrates that when the normal day-to-day activity of society disintegrates, the collapse of civilisation is only a few paces behind. We all walk on the edge of the abyss.
Musib Na'imi in Iran's Al-Vefagh
About 10,000 US National Guard troops were deployed [in New Orleans] and were granted the authority to fire at and kill whom they wanted, upon the pretext of restoring order. This decision is an indication of the US administration's militarist mentality, which regards killing as the only way to control even its own citizens.
Samih Sa'ab in Lebanon's Al-Nahar
The destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina... has proved that even the No 1 superpower in the world is helpless in facing nature's 'terrorism'.
Pakistan's The Nation
To augment the tragedy, the government of the world's richest nation defied the general expectation that at the first sign of the storm it would muster an armada of ships, boats and helicopters for the rescue operation. For nearly three days it sat smugly apathetic to the people's plight, their need for food, medicine and other basic necessities.
Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po
This disaster is a heavy blow to the United States, and a lesson which deserves deep thought... [It] is a warning to the Bush administration that the United States must clear its head and truly assume its responsibility to protect nature and the environment in which humankind lives.
Hong Kong's South China Morning Post
Even if our money may not be needed, at the least we should be offering moral support. Our skills in dealing with storms may be useful to help Americans prevent other such tragedies. We should be offering this help rather than shrugging off what should be our humanitarian duty.
Ambrose Murunga in Kenya's Daily Nation
My first reaction when television images of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans came through the channels was that the producers must be showing the wrong clip. The images, and even the disproportionately high number of visibly impoverished blacks among the refugees, could easily have been a re-enactment of a scene from the pigeonholed African continent.
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.