New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has issued a "desperate SOS" for the people stranded with no food or water at the city's convention centre.
Thousands may have died in the hurricane, which President Bush has described as "one of the worst natural disasters" the US had seen.
Have you been affected by Hurricane Katrina? Or do you know anybody who has been affected?
Do you have any pictures or video footage of Hurricane Katrina? If so, call us on +44 (0)208 576 1239 or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
My house is on the 17th Street Canal where the levee broke, but the satellite images show that the whole West End and Lakeview area is either under water or washed away completely. I have evacuated to Florida. My gut feeling is, "I want to go home." Anyone can see, though, that we have no home to go to.
Alex, New Orleans, USA
We have relatives that have a church in New Orleans and are still there. One of their sons is currently in the DeWitt area with his grandparents, (our nephew).He recently arrived here through help from family and friends.
Michael Smelker, DeWitt, Mi
I spoke with my sister on September 2. She lived in Waveland, MS along with her two children and nearby her ex-husband and was fortunate enough to have evacuated. She learned yesterday that her entire house is gone. They tried to look for belongings that survived but it was getting dark which made it difficult and found none. Prior to the hurricane she stored important keepsakes in an office building that she thought would withstand a strong hurricane, unfortunately it did not and all her photographs and keepsakes are ruined. Her entire town was wiped off the map that day; she will not have a job to go back to. It is impossible for me to comprehend the damage beyond what I have seen in satellite photos. br />Steve Buhk, San Diego, CA USA
My wife and I are going to be with my daughter whose home is in Bogalusa, LA. She evacuated but probably lost everything. While the devastation in New Orleans and other places is in the news small towns surrounding the area are overlooked. There is much, much more to this disaster than what is seen on the news reports.
Rev Tom McManus, Cross Keys, Wales, UK
I decided not to leave New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina came since I had evacuated from the city for several other hurricanes such as George and Ivan. I had a false sense of security - I was never expecting Katrina to hit. Now, my house is gone. My dog is dead. I don't have a car. My mother has high cholesterol and cannot get hold of any Lipitor. I have been surviving on bottled water and tinned beans for the last week. I was held at gunpoint and had my few remaining possessions stolen from me, even my clothes. I'm just glad I don't have any children to suffer with me. The situation is terrible. My life is practically over. I need a miracle.
Greg Johnson, New Orleans, Louisiana
I have a cousin who is going to college in Louisiana and an Aunt and Uncle who live in Mississippi. I am also scheduled to take a 1300-mile trek to visit my family back home in Texas. I managed to get in touch with my cousin in Louisiana and he is grateful that his area was spared any serious damage. My uncle is a retired Naval family counsellor as well as a Christian minister and he and his son stayed in MS to help the relief efforts as much as they could. Suddenly the fact that I may have to pay a little more for gas on my way home doesn't sound quite so devastating. May God help those who need it.
LCpl Hurley, Camp Lejeune, NC, USA
My girlfriend's entire family was affected. Fortunately, they were able to leave New Orleans when they were told to but they have lost everything. I am very proud to live in Houston, Texas. My city has been overwhelmed with about 100,000 displaced people. Homes are being opened up to strangers, the children are going to be able to go to school and apartments are being made ready.
Gloria Stalarow, Houston, USA
I just received word that a good friend of mine living in Biloxi is safe and sound. She evacuated on Sunday and has just returned home to find by some miracle, her house still standing. As for the situation in New Orleans, it is deplorable, frightening and unacceptable. The American people are extremely angry and have been taking matters into their own hands as much as possible. The Red Cross alone has raised over $200 million in private donations, nurses and volunteers are working non-stop in deplorable conditions without sleep, citizens from every race, class and city have been donating millions of goods. Many Americans are opening up their homes for strangers who are refugees. Many private citizens are driving down themselves with cars full of goods purchased with money from their own pocket to deliver to survivors.
Eric, Centreville, Virginia, USA
I can only thank GOD that most of the people here in Terrebonne Parish on the gulf coast have been spared the wrath of Katrina. We have been seriously left out of critical information of events going on around us. We were cut off from the world for nearly 2 days. None of the local media gave us the hint of a clue about what was transpiring in the city of New Orleans. My heart and soul go out to all the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We have all been touched by her heavy hand. I offer my condolences and apologies for my fellow citizens who have had to endure the wrath of street thugs, looters, price gougers and numerous other atrocities. I am appalled at the events that have transpired in my front yard of New Orleans. The city that care forgot has forgotten to care. But in spite of it all, I love my state I thank GOD that I have my life, my family is safe, we endured a minimum of discomfort in the heat. Tomorrow is another day. GOD bless all!
Derrel M. Pellegrin, Dulac, LA
Two of our friends just moved to New Orleans with their families to attend a masters degree course in genetics. After barely being able to afford the cost of moving one family ended up fleeing to Detroit. They have lost everything, but they still have each other. Of the other family we still have not heard. We are obviously worried and pray for the best. The information we get from the news is grim and only makes it worse.
Amy Rigby, Cleveland, OH USA
Here in Michigan we are already feeling the economic effects petrol went from record highs of $1.70 per gallon to over $2.30. But my biggest issue is with the response of the Governments local, State and Federal. The Hurricane was not as bad as the predictions but still there is chaos. Why did the mayor and governor not have the National Guard/State Police help/make the residents leave, it was a mandatory evacuation after all. Why were the National Guard/State Police ready that day of the hurricane to go in to help. Why did the Governors of all effected states have hospitals and shelter outside the effected areas ready? As for Mr Bush still on holiday...what if terrorists blew up the levies would his response have been better...mean while back in Detroit 100 plus police offices have been laid off, another eight fire stations to close. So much for homeland security.
David, Grand Rapids Michigan USA
Why are there so many media people allowed to take up space in boats and helicopters that should be used to rescue a few more of these desperate victims? It is time to wake up and contribute not just sit back and watch whilst others suffer.
David Pring, Mexico City
The city of Dallas has opened its doors, hospitals, and public schools for all of those who lost everything in New Orleans. My church has been collecting and distributing clothing, etc for those already in the shelters. I am amazed and proud of the outpouring of assistance from the people of Dallas. These people have lost everything they have. It is shocking to see this happen so close to home; we're used to seeing this happen elsewhere - I think the past few years have been a reality check for the US. But, true to form, the US will assist and take care of those in need - it just happens to be our own people this time.
The lack of international support being reported is a bit disheartening, but we are not a poor, uncaring country and should be able to take care of things ourselves if necessary. It is just sad that everyone turns to us in times of trouble, and criticizes at the drop of a hat. I do believe, however, that if we did request some assistance, that other countries would step up to the plate, regardless of what they think of our politics and realize that these are innocent people who just need a hand. The people of the Gulf coast region are in my prayers.
Pam, Dallas, TX, USA
I have several friends with family members from New Orleans. One took in five family members. She still has (had?) an 84-year-old uncle in the Superdome. Another friend has 30 relatives taking refuge in Dallas. To escape the storm, they first headed to Alabama in a caravan of five vehicles. Once they heard about the destruction they headed to Texas to stay with family for an unknown period of time.
Some family members are still missing. On my street alone there are four SUVs with Louisiana plates, obvious refugees. I am sure that we will also see the effects in our children's schools as we take in the children who no longer have their own schools to return to.
Katherine, Dallas, Texas
I live in Mobile, Alabama which is about two hours from New Orleans. We were not affected to the extent that our friends to the east have been. Although I do not yet have power restored at home I am able to send this from work thanks to an office building powered by generator.
Matthew Taylor, Mobile, Alabama, USA
I'm a British citizen currently in north east Texas. I have not seen the disaster firsthand, but the results. The response and aid is unprecedented, hundreds, if not thousands are here in Longview, formerly without food, clothing or a place to sleep and shower, now they are being looked after and cared for. Thousands were evacuated in time.
Unfortunately thousands are also still in trouble. In America people expect to get help straight away... the flooding of New Orleans prevented that and now we're trying to get everyone out in spite of the flooding! We can only pray that officials find a more effective way of evacuating the people before it's too late.
Michael Davies, Longview, Texas, USA
My wife's grandparents live in Mobile, Alabama. They are ok apparently but facing at least two weeks without power. Her grandfather just got out of hospital after an operation and so my wife is very worried as they both require daily medications. We hope that the rescue services can help them evacuate to somewhere where they have power. Incidentally New Orleans wasn't evacuated before the storm, people were told to leave.
No effort was made to help the poor, the homeless or those without transport. It is an important differentiation and the BBC has a duty to make sure people are not mislead into believing the USA cared enough about its own poor to evacuate them. News reports should say people were told to leave, but no means of evacuation was provided, in order to maintain standards of accuracy.
Jon Fanning, Manchester, UK
I have worked in flood relief many times in the USA before, although of course, on a much smaller scale. The criticism of government leaders whether it is the president, governor, mayor, or even the bureaucrat or national guardsman on the scene is typical. One could even callously say that it is part of the script. Anyone who thinks there is a room somewhere with buttons, levers, and flashing lights that can be manipulated to make things go away is a fool. N-one can overcome the universal truth of time and space. When the supplies, equipment and help are far away, it will take time to get there.
Douglas, Huntington, WV, USA
We have a friends missing in New Orleans. We have tried many times to contact them by cell and email, but we can never get through. We don't know if they're alive or dead. It's a horrible feeling. But what makes me mad about this situation is the pitiful response by our government. We can mobilize military and supplies to occupy Iraq, but we can't get food and water to our own people! The US government should be ashamed! People are dying in one of our greatest cities but our government seems to be completely incompetent and unable to even get the bare necessities to the affected area.
Marlon Garren, Knoxville, Tn, USA
I live in a town north of New Orleans. We were spared the storm's fury but are now having to deal with the refugees and the misery. It's almost unbelievable what's happening. We've just been told that prisoners being transported to a facility in our town have hijacked the bus and taken their guards hostage. The situation just seems to grow worse by the hour and there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it all.
I can't understand how the relief operation can be so disorganized. The pilot for our company said several airports in the area are out of jet fuel so the numbers of relief helicopter flights are going to be quickly diminishing. Fort Polk, a huge army base, is not much more than 100 miles from New Orleans. I can't understand why they haven't been mobilized for assistance. It's all so surreal.
Dan, Jena, Louisiana, USA
I want to express my gratitude and that of my family (some of whom are in south western Mississippi - thank goodness they are okay!) for the offers of help and support from around the world. So far, 20 countries have proposed to send aid in various forms. We do appreciate it!
Adam, Portland, USA
My sister-in-law lost everything and they are now moving to Dallas with their children. The kids are already enrolled in school. Those who complain the government is not doing enough need to look at the big picture. Texas as a state is absorbing the vast majority to the displaced population and accommodating them for the long term. It is not the government's fault. People are shooting at helicopters trying to save them. Israel removed Israelis from their Gaza homes unarmed and we have to send armed soldiers to rescue people. That is embarrassing.
Hector, Austin, Tx
I am a trained Search and Rescue Technician and an EMT here in Wisconsin. My colleagues and I have spent years training for natural disasters and yet we have received only one call from the state of Mississippi asking how many of us were available. I realize that this is a disaster of huge proportions and that nobody really seems to know where to start with responses, but I hope that as soon as they need us they will call, we are ready.
Matt, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
I am amazed at the images coming out of the three Gulf States impacted by Katrina and worry about my many friends from this area. I have heard through the grapevine that some are ok, but many are still unaccounted for. Needless to say, I have donated to the Red Cross relief effort and ask others to think about donating, too. It is sad to see the looting occurring, which did not really happen after the Boxing Day Tsunami.
Marjorie, Vancouver, Canada
The State of Texas has reached out to our neighbour Louisiana with massive help long before anyone else. We have many displaced people here already and are taking in many, many more. All our businesses have pitched in to help. Those 25,000 from the Superdome coming to San Antonio have many offers of jobs. State employees have been sent to help. Construction projects have been put on hold to free up the contractors for help in the devastated areas. There is much more that we are doing. Pray for Texas as a major storm to our coast would now be doubly disastrous. The Houston area is low lying and San Antonio is the evacuation point for the south Texas coast.
Colletta Galloway, San Antonio, TX USA
The world seems silent in our time of great need. You ask for our compassion, but show us none.
Kendall, San Jose, California
I lived in Baton Rouge and spent many weekends in New Orleans. It is such a great city and it is very sad to see it in this condition. I am very angry to see that it is taking forever to send help or do something about it. What I see on TV and read in the news looks as if these people who are there to help does not know what to do or how to act. It is very frustrating.
As an Expat living in the US, I am utterly disgusted at what I am now seeing coming out of New Orleans. The federal government has acted far too slowly to care for its own citizens. To see these people still waiting seems absurd. When we compare the situation in the Far East last year, the poverty there made the situation much harder, but here in the richest country in the world it is utterly amazing that things have not been done sooner. There are 24 hours in each day. I hope that not a minute goes by without somebody being helped. I feel helpless and angered at the lack of effect the federal system is having. As for the lawlessness, looting for food OK but shooting, unbelievable! This is the image of the best and worst of America.
Ben Shaul, Miami, Fl
Several comments have been made about other countries not coming forward to help the US in this crisis and that there has been a "deafening silence from the international community. This isn't true. Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, France, Mexico, several other Latin American countries, India and even Indonesia (despite the fact it is still dealing with the repercussions of the tsunami ) are among countries that have offered either funds or other types of assistance. There are others, I just don't have room to list them all.
Marjorie , Lafayette CA USA
My question is if there was such public awareness on the possible effects of the storm, why wasn't more done before the devastation occurred? Why weren't buses sent out ahead of time to evacuate people? Why weren't bags added to the levies ahead of time?
Lara, NY, NY
My cousin goes to Tulane. She was able to escape in another student's car. They are on their way back to Boston now. Since they are now safe, I am wondering if the rest of the world is going to step up like America has for you so many times in the past.
Patrick O' Callahan, Boston, MA
The scarcity of food and basic needs that is going on in New Orleans is just a glimpse of what goes on everyday in poverty stricken part of the world. I hope the people of America, country of abundance where wasting is a norm, will rise up from this disaster, and come to realize this bitter fact and start to preserve and respect what is really important in life.
Prad, KTM, Nepal
We saw the fury of this hurricane when it crossed our city. We were lucky enough to have electricity by Tuesday evening: some parts of the city still has no electricity. All I can say is that poorest of states have been hit. I cannot imagine a more tragic situation than this. My thoughts are with unfortunate ones and their families.
Sri, Ridgeland, Mississippi
I just watched live reports of the disaster in New Orleans, people pleading for any kind of help and then my president has a press conference where he calmly describes all the assistance the government is providing as if everything is under control...I wonder, are they letting Bush watch the news?
L Marion, Houston, Texas USA
I think the way the government and President Bush have handled the aftermath of hurricane Katrina is absolutely appalling. It has been four days and people are still without food and water. Where is the American government? Why haven't they just dropped supplies to the people starving? It is despicable.
Please, please don't believe what you're hearing from the America media. There are tens of thousands dead, tens of thousands trapped by floodwaters starving and dying of thirst and disease, those who did escape are a wave of millions of homeless people who've lost everything that aren't being accommodated in any organized way. Please, please encourage any of your corporations operating in the area to help - offers of help from governments aren't being accepted. The mayors of cities are begging for help, while the government fumbles in total chaos.
My girlfriend and I are two of the thousands of refugees from New Orleans driven out by Katrina. We are fortunate to have made it out and we have someplace to stay. Many are not so lucky. Watching the footage on TV and talking to friends still in the city after the storm I am outraged at the lack of support from the military and the federal government. That things have been allowed to deteriorate so quickly is shameful. Our National Guard is wasting their time and lives in Iraq when we need them so desperately at home. New Orleans will never be the same.
Craig, New Orleans, USA
Ok, so the hurricane victims are in a devastating position. 'Help them, help them,' everyone cries. What about the people who are helping them? I live in Baton Rouge. Our population has tripled over these few days. There is rioting, looting, rapes, burglaries, and other such things galore. They are about to declare Marshall Law in Baton Rouge on account of the growing crime rate. This is going to create a major problem in our cities. What is to become of us? That's what I want to know.
Zelena, Baton Rouge, Lousiana, United States
So Mayor Ray Nagin has estimated that up to 100,000 people decided to stay in the city? Did he actually use the word 'decided'? That implies choice - something not available to those without a car. And if buses can be sent in now, why could they not have been sent in before so many drowned? How can US national, state and local government live with itself?
Jane, Lancaster, UK
Given the outpouring of help from ordinary Americans for other natural disasters globally, the lack of coherent support from other countries during this crisis is deafening. Remarkable.
Chris Sam, Upper Makefield, PA. USA
I cannot believe this is happening. I hope that Americans and as God's children can ban together and help our brothers. I just visited a refugee site here in Dallas and I'm very hurt and emotional after seeing the desperation on the people's faces. It's heartbreaking.
Viviana, Dallas, TX
I find it so disheartening that the global community has been silent on the tragedy occurring in the USA. It speaks volumes as to what these countries really feel about us. The USA is the first hand held out to other countries in their time of need, it seems that we could have at least an expression of sympathy from them.
B Stern, NY, USA
I know that it isn't nearly as dreadful as anything that has happened in the Gulf States, but here in Charlotte, we have next to no gasoline. This is a fairly large city with no subway system, so even just getting to work has become very difficult.
Constance Haske, Charlotte, NC, USA
To those who have commented about the lack of international support: we should help people because it is the right thing to do, not because we expect to get something in return. Did you donate to the tsunami relief because you wanted to help someone or because you wanted them to be indebted to you? It would be nice if the international community would reach out to us, but we are an outstanding nation, and we are capable of helping ourselves, if only we would be so generous. Charity starts at home.
Stephanie, Austin, Texas
I am dismayed and disgusted by the reaction of the US government to the tragedy on the US Gulf Coast. People are dying for the fourth day while government officials are only defending themselves on the media. Unbelievable!
Pavel, Charlottesville, USA
Anyone witness to the disaster is affected by it.
Sam, Ferndale, Michigan USA
It's a good thing that about 1.1 million people did evacuate before the storm. If they hadn't, the death toll would certainly be thousands more than it already is.
Chrisse, Houston, Texas
This is crazy - how is it taking this long to get everyone out of there? The US has the most sophisticated military in the world - it is ridiculous that the mayor has to send out an SOS to get help for these people. Hang in there, our thoughts are with you.
T Chowdhury, Ilford, UK
After several days I finally got in touch with one of my close friends who lives in (or did live in) New Orleans. He is safe. His family is safe. I asked him about his home. "Its all gone, there is nothing left. All I have are the clothes on my back, my wallet, and my useless car and house keys (both of which were lost in the flood)". His job is gone and he is running out of money in his bank account. He doesn't know what to do. I can only help so much from the other side of the country. It makes me sick to think about this. May God Bless the victims and hopefully the recovery will not take as long as it is currently slated to.
Chris, Washington DC
With the devastation that has come it is unbelievable that looting, shooting is taking place. Natural disasters of this scale are difficult to deal with no matter which country it hits. People need to wake up and smell the coffee that this type of thing only hurts people more who have been hit by the hurricane. Let some common sense flow into the people running to loot and shoot.
Where's the UN? When the Tsunami hit, America was sharply criticized by Kofi Anan for not donating enough. And at $350,000,000, we were the fourth largest donator. Someone said earlier in this post that the silence of the international community is deafening. Well, I say the silence of the UN speaks volumes.
Jackie, Kansas, USA
Not all of the people taking items are looters. Some are just looking for survival items such as food and water and we can't blame them for that. However those taking TVs, handfuls of Nike shoes etc are absolutely heartless.
Jeff, Tucson, AZ - USA