The pictures on television look all too familiar: Refugees, stranded by their government, cry out for help. Lawlessness abounds on the streets. Looters rule. Rescuers pull back under a hail of gunfire. Dead bodies lie rotting in the street. Others lay dying, listless in the baking sun.
President Bush on Wednesday described Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods that have submerged New Orleans, ravaged the Gulf Coast region and left thousands feared dead as “one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history” and predicted that recovery would take years.