Police and National Guard troops are going door-to-door in hurricane stricken New Orleans, pressuring people to comply with the mayor's mandatory evacuation order.
More than half the city remains under water 10 days after Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed levees designed to keep the low-lying city dry.
Several thousand residents have defied the order to leave despite repeated warnings about contaminated floodwaters, numerous fires, and a shortage of basic supplies.
The combined death toll from Katrina in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi remained under 300 early Thursday. But authorities are prepared for the number to soar as the New Orleans floodwaters recede and more bodies are found.
A Louisiana state health official says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has 25,000 body bags ready to use if necessary.
Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in U.S. southern coastal region Thursday for a first-hand look at Katrina's destruction. Mr. Cheney is touring disaster sites in Gulfport, Mississippi as well as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Meanwhile, a Mexican army convoy of about 200 people has crossed the U.S. border in Texas to help with the hurricane relief effort.
Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.