ENGINEERS SAID this week it would take more than two months to pump all the floodwater out of New Orleans.
Standby pumps began the mammoth task on Monday and a US Army Corps of Engineers spokesman confirmed it would take 80 days to get the city dry.
He added: 'We breached some levees to assist in the gravity flow out of the city, but this won't get rid of the water below sea level.' Of the 22 permanent pumps owned by the City of New Orleans, the Army spokesman confirmed that only one was operational as NCE went to press.
Others would be up and running as soon as the water was low enough to get power cables to them.
The rest of the water is being pushed out by mobile pumps, with German and Dutch engineers assisting the Corps.
The US Army Corps of Engineers had been put on notice to put an emergency response plan to Hurricane Katrina into action as early as 28 August.
This required engineers to clear roads of debris and restore power to essential infrastructure such as hospitals and police stations, providing generators where needed. The plan also included the construction of temporary housing and bringing in drinking water and ice.
It was only later that Corps of Engineers added removal of New Orleans' floodwater to its priority list.