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Bush to Return to Gulf Coast


President Bush heads back to America's Gulf Coast Monday for an update on efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It will be his second visit to the storm-ravaged area in four days.

This is the Labor Day Holiday in the United States. But there is no celebration along the Gulf Coast, where many are focusing on surviving from one day to the next.

Soldiers and supplies have been pouring into the region, and the chaos that plagued so many communities has begun to ease.

But a week after the hurricane struck, search and rescue efforts are continuing, with stranded storm victims being plucked one by one off rooftops in the hard-hit city of New Orleans. Hundreds-of-thousands of people are displaced, and many towns are piles of rubble and debris.

President Bush ordered an increased military presence on Saturday, sending seven-thousand additional troops to the Gulf Coast. On Sunday, he tried to put the focus on what he often refers to as the armies of compassion -- the private charities that have stepped in to help the homeless, sick and hungry.

Mr. Bush traveled a few blocks from the White House to the Washington headquarters of the American Red Cross. He toured the organization's hurricane relief command center, and offered words of support.

"I can't think of anything more encouraging for someone who has endured the tragedy of a storm than to have a loving soul say, 'I'm here to help you," Mr. Bush says. "And I want -- I want you to know a lot of people care for you.' And that's -- that's the spirit of the Red Cross and it's volunteers."

The president said the Red Cross needs more money and more volunteers. He said the demand for relief services is great.

"This is a storm of enormous magnitude. A lot of people's lives have been affected," Mr. Bush says. "I know much of the country is focused on New Orleans, Louisiana, but parishes outside of New Orleans have been ruined. Up and down the coast of Mississippi, communities have been destroyed. And so we need more manpower."

The president originally planned to attend a Labor Day picnic with workers in the state of Maryland. But all his scheduled appearances for the holiday and the week have been scrapped, as the White House and the nation deal with one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.

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