President Bush heads to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday for a closer look at the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The president also has asked his father, former President Bush, and former President Clinton to head private fundraising efforts for the storm's victims.
The White House said Thursday that Mr. Bush will tour the hurricane-ravaged communities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi by air, and when possible, by land. Aides say the president's schedule will include a stop in the flooded city of New Orleans.
Mr. Bush saw some of the devastation Wednesday when his plane flew over the Gulf coast as he returned to Washington from a vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
The president described Hurricane Katrina as one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, saying the recovery operation will take years. He said those efforts will focus on three priorities - saving lives, sustaining life in the affected areas, and putting in place a comprehensive recovery effort.
Mr. Bush Thursday consulted with his advisers about the economic impact of the storm as they prepared to send an emergency budget request to Congress. He also met with Alan Greenspan, the head of the U.S. Central Bank (Federal Reserve) to discuss Hurricane Katrina's impact on the price and availability of gasoline in the United States.