President Bush says the danger from Hurricane Ike has not passed for people living along America's Gulf Coast. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, more than one million people are without power in the state of Texas where the storm first made landfall.
President Bush says Hurricane Ike is a huge storm that is causing a lot of damage in Texas and parts of Louisiana.
"The storm is yet to pass and I know there are people concerned about their lives. Some people didn't evacuate when asked," he said.
Rescue workers suspended operations overnight because of the storm. They say they are concerned about the safety of thousands of people who defied evacuation orders in the coastal city of Galveston.
Speaking to reporters following a briefing from Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and Federal Emergency Management director David Paulison, the president says rescue teams are prepared to move in as soon as weather conditions permit.
"As this massive storm moves through the Gulf Coast, people of that area can rest assured that the American people are praying for them and will be ready to help once the storm moves on," he said.
Mr. Bush says he has suspended environmental waivers to allow more foreign petroleum into the United States to prevent a spike in gasoline prices from the disruption of oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Winds over 175 kilometers per hour knocked out power lines sparking fires that officials had to let burn. The hurricane is still hitting the city of Houston with heavy winds and rain but is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland.