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Survivors of Katrina say racism slowed aid

WASHINGTON -- Black survivors of Hurricane Katrina said yesterday that racism contributed to the slow disaster response. In emotional congressional testimony, some likened themselves to victims of genocide and the Holocaust.

The comparison is inappropriate, according to Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida.

''Not a single person was marched into a gas chamber and killed," Miller told the survivors.

''They died from abject neglect," retorted community activist Leah Hodges. ''We left body bags behind."

Angry evacuees described temporary shelters where one New Orleans resident said she was ''one sunrise from being consumed by maggots and flies." Another woman said military troops focused machine gun laser targets on her granddaughter's forehead. Others said their families were called racial epithets by police.

The hearing was held by a special House committee investigating the government's preparations and response to Katrina.

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