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As of today, Katrina may be the deadliest hurricane the United States of America has seen since 1969. That was the year Hurricane Camille killed 256, leaving thousands homeless. Before that, there was Hurricane Audrey, which killed 390 in 1957.

These statistics are far from the minds of people in New Orleans. The priority, for them, is survival.

In the words of Kathleen Blanco, Governor of Louisiana: Not since the San Francisco fire of 1906 has a great American city faced the 'totally overwhelming ... heartbreaking' rebuilding challenge that New Orleans now has to deal with. Katrina struck on Monday, killing hundreds in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi with winds of 225 kilometres an hour and a 9-meter wall of water that inundated the coastline.

Text: Preetee Brahmbhatt

Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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