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Learning English - Words in the News
05 October, 2005 - Published 11:50 GMT
New Orleans job losses
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin

The mayor of New Orleans has announced that around half of his employees will lose their jobs in the next two weeks. Mayor Ray Nagin said there wasn't enough money to keep the jobs open given the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. This report from Alistair Leithead:

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Mayor Ray Nagin said it was with great sadness that he was forced to sack three thousand people who worked for the city. New Orleans was not able to obtain sufficient funds, the official statement said, pointing out that the request for money had been put into the state and the federal government. Those city workers not contacted to return to work, it added, should consider themselves part of the lay off.

Meanwhile the house to house search for bodies has been brought to an end with the death toll in Louisiana standing at more than nine hundred and seventy. A private company will now assume responsibility for any other reports of bodies being found. The total number of dead, around one thousand two hundred, including those in Mississippi, is considerably lower than the figure of ten thousand talked about in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Tens of thousands of people are still homeless living in shelters, hotels or other accommodation across America. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has been criticised for not getting evacuees into more permanent housing quickly enough. Trailer parks are being established to home those most in need.

Alistair Leithead, BBC News, New Orleans

Listen to the words

to sack
to make people unemployed

not able to obtain sufficient funds
not able to get enough money

pointing out
highlighting, making it clear

the lay off
the process of making people unemployed

brought to an end

the death toll
the number or people who died

assume responsibility for
take control of

the immediate aftermath
the time immediately after something destructive has happened

people who have been forced to leave their homes to go to a safer place

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