New Orleans readies 25,000 body bags
Soldiers toting M-16s strengthened their grip on this swamped city as concerns grew about the risks posed by the toxic floodwaters and officials braced for what could be a staggering death toll by readying 25,000 body bags.
Officials readied for the potential of a horrendous death toll. Bob Johannessen, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Hospitals, said officials have 25,000 body bags on hand in Louisiana. Asked if authorities expected that many bodies, he said: "We don't know what to expect."
Mayor C. Ray Nagin had earlier said New Orleans' death toll could reach 10,000. Already, a temporary warehouse morgue in rural St. Gabriel that had been prepared to take 1,000 bodies was being readied to handle 5,000. The official death toll in Mississippi climbed to 201 Wednesday, but more than 1,000 are feared dead there, too.