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Abandon low lying areas say engineers

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NEW ORLEANS' lowest lying areas should be abandoned in anticipation of future floods, engineers said this week.

Criticial strategic operations centres should also be relocated outside the city so that they can respond better to future hurricanes.

'There is a real opportunity here, ' said ICE vice president and Jacobs Babtie director Gordon Masterton.

'Economically, environmentally and in terms of human life New Orleans is one of the riskiest locations in the world. Parts of it sit 6m below sea level.

'Some administrative and critical functions may need to be relocated to more secure areas, ' he said.

Other experts agreed.

'There may be planning constraints placed in certain areas so the city could spread out, and it may become more difficult to get insurance (for property in high flood risk areas), ' said Atkins rivers, coastal and environmental engineering director Mike Wollgar.

New Orleans could learn from Britain's Making Space for Water strategy, said Halcrow flood defences director Rowland Grzybek.

This explores the potential for allowing water to find its own way, creating sacrificial flood plain areas by rivers and allowing minor roads to act as conduits during flooding.

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