Correction to This Article
A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency. She declared an emergency on Aug. 26.
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Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting

Evacuees shield their eyes as a Black Hawk helicopter lands on an Interstate 10 overpass in New Orleans. Many city residents sought refuge on freeways as floodwaters rose around them.
Evacuees shield their eyes as a Black Hawk helicopter lands on an Interstate 10 overpass in New Orleans. Many city residents sought refuge on freeways as floodwaters rose around them. (By Shannon Stapleton -- Reuters)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said that it will take as long as 80 days to remove the water from New Orleans and surrounding areas.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) sent a letter to Bush Saturday urging him to provide cash benefits and transportation assistance to stranded people and to use federal facilities for housing. They wrote that they "are concerned that rescue and recovery efforts appear to remain chaotic and that many victims remain hungry and without adequate shelter nearly a week after the hurricane struck. Clearly, strong personal leadership from you is essential if we are to get this effort on track."

The administration said that 100,000 have received some form of humanitarian aid and that 9,500 have been rescued by the Coast Guard. The administration said it is providing funds to employ displaced workers and has arranged for Amtrak trains to help in the evacuation. The rail service expects to remove 1,500 people daily. In addition, the Energy Department reported that 1.3 million customers were without electricity, down from 1.5 million Friday.

The 7,200 additional troops announced by Bush on Saturday are scheduled to arrive within three days. They will come from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., the 1st Cavalry Division at Food Hood, Tex., the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The decision to employ active-duty ground troops and Marines was particularly significant given the administration's initial desire to limit ground forces largely to Guard units. Regular military troops are constrained by law from engaging in domestic law enforcement. By contrast, Guard troops, who are under the command of state governors, have no such constraints.

At a Pentagon news conference Saturday, Lt. Gen. Joseph Inge, the deputy commander of the Northern Command, said the active-duty ground forces would be used mainly to protect sites and perform other functions not considered law enforcement.

The Air Force is repatriating 300 airmen from Iraq and Afghanistan so they can assist their families back in their home base in Biloxi, Miss.

Law enforcement officials said order is beginning to be restored in the city. A temporary detention center has been set up in the city to house those arrested for looting and other crimes after the hurricane, and the city's court personnel have been relocated to neighboring jurisdictions unaffected by Katrina, said New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Trials are expected to begin within two weeks, he said. "We're going to bring these guys to justice," he said.

Members of federal law enforcement agencies are in the city, he said. More than 200 Border Patrol agents have been sworn in to reinforce New Orleans police, and state police officials said hundreds of law enforcement agents from other states are expected in the coming days.

Hsu reported from Washington. Staff writers Justin Blum, Dana Milbank, Jacqueline L. Salmon and Josh White contributed to this report.

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