Special Bulletin – Louisiana requests help from marine community

CHICAGO – The Louisiana Governor’s office has requested assistance from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and its members for the search and rescue effort now underway along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

NMMA issued an alert to members this morning, forwarding the call for help. Members of the marine community are being asked to provide boats to assist the rescuers.

“Outside of medical personnel, the biggest need right now is for watercraft,” NMMA wrote in the message. “If your company is in a position to help, please contact NMMA. As you can imagine, communications in the area are difficult, so NMMA will put you in touch with Louisiana Fish & Wildlife if you can help.”

Companies that can provide assistance are asked to contact Matthew Long or Elinore Boeke at NMMA with a contact name, phone number, and email address. Matthew Long can be reached at 202-737-9759 or mlong@nmma.org.

Conditions worsen
The levee system, which protects New Orleans, has failed in at least three places and flood waters continue to rise in a city that is already said to be 80 percent underwater.

Calls to evacuate the city have gone out.

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin told CNN that some sections of the city, currently dry, could be inundated by nine or 10 feet water in the next few hours.

At least 1,500 people have been rescued from rooftops in New Orleans alone, according to news reports. Many are still trapped.

The death toll from the storm has already exceeded 100, and is expected to rise as rescuers, now focused on helping the living, eventually turn to the task of recovering bodies.

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