Work has finally begun on pumping the deadly floodwaters in New Orleans back into Lake Pontchartrain. Army engineers are carrying out the work after fixing a break in the levee that ruptured during Hurricane Katrina. People are still being rescued from flooded areas, almost 80 percent of the city, and there are worries that more bodies will continue to be found once the waters recede.
The mayor of New Orleans says the disaster may have claimed up to 10,000 people in his city. Elsewhere, makeshift morgues have been set up. The official death toll in Louisiana stands at 59 but officials say that is likely to rise as cut-off areas are reached. In Mississippi, more than 100 deaths have been confirmed, with many more unaccounted for.
With hundreds of thousands of people displaced in temporary shelters, and with many transferred to neighbouring states, officials say it will take weeks, if not months, before some can return home. President George W.Bush, who is under fire for his handling of the crisis, has been back in the disaster zone for the second time in a week. Former president Bill Clinton has said there is no dispute that the government failed people in the early stages of the tragedy.