U.S. President George Bush is in his home state of Texas Tuesday, inspecting the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike in the cities of Galveston and Houston.
Millions of people remain without power three days after the powerful storm battered the area with high winds and flooding that destroyed entire neighborhoods.
Thousands of people remain in shelters, and residents are complaining about a lack of food, water, gas and other supplies. Officials say there is a threat of a growing health crisis in Galveston.
Mr. Bush was briefed in Houston today on the situation before taking an aerial tour of Galveston. He commended state and local officials for their response to the storm.
Mr. Bush has promised the federal government will do all it can to help. He says he understands residents are quickly running out of patience over the slow pace of relief efforts.
The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, David Paulison, told reporters traveling with the president that Galveston will have the toughest time recovering, as the island city sustained the most damage in the state.
Authorities say it could be months before electricity and other utilities are restored. They are urging evacuees not to return to the Texas coast.
The Associated Press reports the storm killed at least 40 people in 10 states.
President Bush released federal aid by declaring a major disaster in Texas and parts of neighboring Louisiana.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.