Accessibility links

New Orleans Authorities Step Up Pressure on Hurricane Holdouts

Authorities are stepping up the pressure on New Orleans residents who have refused to leave the devastated city.

Thousands of police and National Guard troops are completing their efforts to evacuate all those who want to leave, and are now turning their attention to those who have not obeyed a mandatory evacuation effort.

Officials estimate that between 5,000 and 10,000 residents remain in New Orleans, despite contaminated floodwaters and several raging fires.

Authorities warn the death toll could reach into the thousands, although fewer than 200 bodies have been found so far. Twenty-five thousand body bags have been provided for the clean-up operation.

Late Thursday President Bush signed a bill promising nearly $52 billion more in relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina. The president has come under pressure for the slow federal response to the national disaster.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.