It was once a busy, thriving city, now it is estimated only about 10,000 people remain there. New Orleans police say they are stepping up efforts to make Hurricane Katrina survivors leave the city, amid mounting concern about the spread of disease. City officials say police have been given the authority to force people to evacuate, but will not say if that power has yet been used.
One rescuer said: “A lot of people don’t want to leave. They have got dogs and they want to stay with their homes. They say they are just going to stay until the water goes down, so we talk to them and ask if they have food and water – if they need any help, if we can help in any way – and most of then decline.” The army says it could take almost three months to pump all of the floodwater out of New Orleans. Construction workers have been busy fixing broken levees. One of the engineers said: “We’ve been non stop since Tuesday, the day after the storm. We’re making a little bit of progress, but there’s still a long way to go.” With fears the death toll could rise into the thousands, President Bush continues to face sharp criticism over the relief effort.