The mayor of New Orleans has ordered the forcible removal of all remaining civilians from his flood-ravaged city.
Mayor Ray Nagin issued an emergency order late Tuesday, urging law enforcement officers and military personnel to use force, if necessary, to compel thousands of people who have refused to leave their homes to get out of the city.
He says there are severe health risks posed by fires and polluted waters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is urging people exposed to the floodwaters to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A.
Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Nagin said 60 percent of the city remained underwater, compared to 80 percent at the height of the flooding. Engineers started pumping out water Monday after repairing a massive break in a levee that allowed floodwaters to pour into the city.
Meanwhile, authorities are pulling bodies out of New Orleans and have set up a huge morgue. Officials say thousands may have been killed, but so far the death toll stands at 71.
Hurricane Katrina also destroyed vast areas in the nearby state of Mississippi. The official death count there stands at about 150, but is expected to rise.