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Bush to Return to Washington After Hurricane Katrina Pounds Gulf Coast

  • VOA News

President Bush will return to Washington D.C. Wednesday, ending his Texas ranch vacation to help oversee recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina.

Authorities are continuing emergency rescue efforts after the hurricane slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast Monday. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says the death toll could be as high as 80 in one Mississippi county alone.

The storm uprooted trees and destroyed homes in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

Rescuers used helicopters to pluck stranded residents from rooftops of houses submerged in flooding.

Live power lines are down and gas lines ruptured, and authorities are warning residents not to return to their homes yet. The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told CNN Tuesday that it could be weeks before some residents can be allowed to return home.

Forecasters say Katrina is now a tropical depression centered in western Tennessee.