A massive pumping effort will be required to drain floodwaters from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Army Corps of Engineers (www.usace.army.mil), however, is unsure of the state of city’s 22 pump stations. Currently, the pump stations are beholden to backup power and are likely clogged with debris.

Before the pumping can begin though, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to repair the network of levees and floodwalls that protect New Orleans from flooding. The system failed during the hurricane, allowing the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain to overflow into New Orleans.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the most serious failure occurred at the 17th Street Canal, a channel used to divert water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain during river floods. Army officials believe the wall failed when waters rose over the top and cascaded down to the wall”s base, scouring a hole that undermined the foundation.

The levees and floodwalls surrounding New Orleans were designed to handle up to an 11.5-foot storm surge. Katrina generated surges well in excess of this capacity, overwhelming the 17th Street Canal pump station, which the Tribune cites as the largest drainage pump in the world, capable of moving 10,000 cubic feet of water per second.

There are a number of government organizations and private agencies working to assist the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. These organizations are asking for cash contributions to help support the effort.

Cash donations allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs. Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (www.fema.gov) listed the following agencies as needing cash to assist hurricane victims:
• American Red Cross, 800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English, 800-257-7575 Spanish.
• Operation Blessing, 800-436-6348.
• America”s Second Harvest, 800-344-8070.
• Adventist Community Services, 800-381-7171.
• Catholic Charities, USA, 703-549-1390.
• Christian Disaster Response, 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554.
• Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, 800-848-5818.
• Church World Service, 800-297-1516.
• Convoy of Hope, 417-823-8998.
• Lutheran Disaster Response, 800-638-3522.
• Mennonite Disaster Service, 717-859-2210.
• Nazarene Disaster Response, 888-256-5886.
• Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, 800-872-3283.
• Salvation Army, 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).
• Southern Baptist Convention – Disaster Relief, 800-462-8657, ext. 6440.
• United Methodist Committee on Relief. 800-554-8583.

— Flow Control Staff