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Bush Returns to Hurricane-Swept Gulf Coast


President Bush is returning to the U.S. Gulf coast today-Monday, on a followup visit to federal emergency crews working to complete the evacuation of New Orleans and repair the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Bush's second trip to the disaster zone in just four days follows scathing criticism of federal officials' cumbersome and slow response to the tragedy, especially in New Orleans, where authorities say they believe floodwaters are concealing the bodies of thousands of hurricane victims.

Today is the United States' annual Labor Day workers' holiday, marking the end of the summer holiday season. Relief and reconstruction work is continuing around the clock, however, in wrecked cities, fishing ports and resorts along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

In New Orleans, authorities are moving through streets still covered by several meters of foul floodwaters, searching for anyone still alive who rode out the storm at home and survived a week without power, fresh water or food.

Russel Honore- the army general who heads military operations in New Orleans says his troops plucked 3,000 people out of the city on Sunday, and are steering their search today toward isolated "pockets" of storm survivors.

The federal government's director of homeland security Michael Chertoff says the nation must prepare for "ugly pictures" once the floodwaters are drained -- a process that will take weeks or months -- and bodies are revealed. Medical workers are concerned about possible outbreaks of typhoid, cholera, malaria, or West Nile virus.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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