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Honore: Military won't participate in forced evacuation

Forced evacuations are a local law enforcement issue — that’s what the man overseeing the military effort in New Orleans, Lieutenant General Russel Honore, has declared, as reported on CNN this AM. Honore also said that he will not tell his troops to starve people out by withholding food/water.

Mayor Ray Nagin announced the forced evacuation yesterday. (AP):

To the estimated 10,000 residents still believed to be holed up in this ruined city, the mayor had a blunt new warning: Get out now — or risk being taken out by force. Police Capt. Marlon Defillo said that forced removal of citizens had not yet begun. “That’s an absolute last resort,” he said.

Nagin’s order targets those still in the city unless they have been designated as helping with the relief effort. Repeated calls to Nagin’s spokeswoman, Tami Frazier, seeking comment were not returned. The move — which supersedes an earlier, milder order to evacuate made before Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore Aug. 29 — comes after rescuers scouring New Orleans found hundreds of people willing to defy repeated urgings to get out.

…In a plea to those who might be listening to portable radios, Nagin warned that the fetid floodwater could carry disease and that natural gas was leaking all over town.

“This is not a safe environment,” Nagin said. “I understand the spirit that’s basically, ‘I don’t want to abandon my city.’ It’s OK. Leave for a little while. Let us get you to a better place. Let us clean the city up.”

To that end, the Pentagon began sending 5,000 paratroopers from the Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division to use small boats to launch a new search-and-rescue effort in flooded sections of the city.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding