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NEW YORK ( – The world press has had a field-day as the world’s only superpower seems inept in dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, with some editorialists saying the “chaos has exposed flaws” and “deep divisions” in American society, according to Reuters news service.

“Its mind-boggling how inept the government (on every level, from local up) has been in this disaster,” reads a line in a September 2 story in Timesonline from London.


The world press, while expressing sympathy with the people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, say they are shocked by the images broadcast around the world.

“Anarchy in the USA,” declared Britain’s top newspaper The Sun.

Germany’s Handelsblatt daily had a headline that said: “Apocalypse now.”

Newspapers highlighted the growing criticism of President George W. Bush. Some compared the chaotic relief effort with the huge amounts of money and resources his administration has poured into Iraq.

“A modern metropolis sinking in water and into anarchy — it is a cruel spectacle for a champion of security like Bush,” France’s left-leaning Liberation newspaper said, adding “Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, nice and dry in his hideaway, must be killing himself laughing.”

Commentators have taken time to note that many of the victims of the hurricane are Black, too poor to flee the region unlike some of their “White neighbors”.

“In one of the poorest states in the country, where Black people earn half as much as White people, this has taken on a racial dimension,” said a story in Britain’s Guardian daily newspaper.

And while world leaders have shown immense sympathy for the victims, some have seized the opportunity to take shots at Washington.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn during an interview with reporters while attending a European Union meeting in Newport, Wales: “The disaster shows the need for a strong state that could help the poor,” the foreign minister said.

“You see in this example that even in the 21st century you need the state, a good functioning state, and I hope that for all these poor people, that the Americans will do their best,” Mr. Asselborn told reporters.

But throughout the world most of the comments were of compassion for the victims.

Venezuela, which has a contentious relationship with Washington, offered humanitarian aid and fuel, if requested. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sent Pres. Bush messages of sympathy, and Saudi King Abdullah did the same by phone.

However, amid the sympathy there were some opposing views, as reported by the Associated Press that “Islamic extremists rejoiced, declaring in Internet chatter that private Katrina had joined the global jihad.” With “God’s help,” they declared, “oil prices would hit $100 a barrel this year”, according to AP.