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Six months on. . .

SIX MONTHS since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, most of its residents are still living in temporary accommodation because damaged water infrastructure remains unrepaired.

Waste water passes through a series of temporary pumps, gets basic treatment and is then pumped almost raw into the Mississippi.

Relatively unscathed areas of the city like the French Quarter do have clean, pressurised drinking water.

But these are in the minority, and potable water supplies are only 30% of what they were preKatrina.

Electricity has been restored to 95% of customers, but has a take-up rate of only 30% to 35%, as many have not returned and others are waiting for the city authorities to certify the safety of their electricity connections.

Central New Orleans is entirely without gas and demolition of devastated properties here has yet to get under way, as storm debris clearance is still taking place.

Until an official plan on how to rebuild New Orleans and its infrastructure is agreed, utility firms and contractors are limited to repairing the infrastructure rather than replacing it.

Only New Orleans roads resemble their pre-Katrina capacity, with motorways to the east of the city all open.

The twin-deck 8.6km Interstate 10 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, which had large sections swept away by Katrina's storm surges, fully reopened in January.

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