A main levee has broken and floodwaters are pouring into the city of New Orleans a day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the southern U.S. Gulf Coast, causing catastrophic damage and mounting death tolls.
Officials say as much as 80 percent of the city is underwater, including its business section and historic French Quarter. Water levels are higher than when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast Monday after a damaged levee let water into the city. Authorities are dropping sandbags on the area.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco called the devastation overwhelming. She says the city lacks drinkable water. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin predicted the death toll will be "significant" and said there are gas leaks throughout the city.
Louisiana television stations report that some parts of New Orleans have been put under martial law after looting broke out across the city.
Meanwhile, in the Mississippi coastal city of Biloxi, officials say Monday's 9-meter storm surge may possibly have killed hundreds. Biloxi Mayor A.J. Hollaway called Katrina "our tsunami."
Authorities are continuing emergency rescue efforts in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Coast Guard officials say more than 1,000 people have been rescued from rooftops. Thousands of National Guard troops are providing medical care and setting up shelter for displaced residents.
Some information for this story provided by AP and Reuters.