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Military Increasing National Guard Strength to Help Security, Rescue in US Gulf Coast

U.S. defense officials say the military is increasing the number of National Guard troops in the Gulf Coast to aid in hurricane emergency efforts.

National Guard troops poured into New Orleans Thursday as tensions rose and conditions worsened amid the tens of thousands of displaced residents in the flood-stricken city.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Paul McHale told a press briefing in Washington that the National Guard will be increasing forces over the next three days to augment and reinforce the strained New Orleans police force.

The military says it expects a total of up to 30,000 National Guard troops to be deployed in the Gulf Coast region for the relief efforts.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joel Whitehead says his force's primary task continues to be search and rescue operations. He says nearly 3,000 stranded residents have been rescued Thursday and that number probably has already increased.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.