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Evacuees return to New Orleans

Hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents will return to the US city today to survey the damage wreaked by hurricane Gustav.

A mass exodus was enforced by the city's mayor Ray Nagin last week ahead of Gustav hitting on Monday, which he anticipated would be "the mother of all storms".

It is estimated that across the whole of Louisiana up to £2M fled their homes in the largest evacuation in the state's history.

However, despite Nagin's fears, New Orleans escaped a repeat of the horrors of Hurricane Katrina as Gustav passed south west of the city and was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made landfall.

Half the city was left without power and parts of the sewerage system suffered damage, but the city’s protective levees held out, preventing the flooding seen during Katrina. Despite, this some overtopping did occur, causing flooding in areas such as the city's Lower 9th Ward (see picture).

Prior to Gustav making landfall the US Army Corps of
Engineers said it was ready for the storm
, with a number of permanent and temporary measures in place to cope with Gustav’s impact.

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