A senior U.S. official says it is evident thousands of people have died in the areas struck by Hurricane Katrina. But Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt told CNN television that there is no precise death toll yet. Officials have so far collected 59 bodies in New Orleans, which they say represents just a fraction of those killed.
In New Orleans, rescue teams are working to evacuate thousands who remain trapped in buildings surrounded by floodwaters, six days after Katrina hit. Officials say 42-thousand people were evacuated Saturday, including those gathered at the city's football stadium and convention center. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the nation must prepare for what he called "ugly pictures" as bodies are found. He, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld traveled separately to affected parts of the Gulf Coast Sunday. Mr. Rumsfeld said it could take years for New Orleans to recover. The three officials were sent to the region as criticism against President Bush increases. A Louisiana official, Jefferson County President Aaron Broussard) says the New Orleans area has been abandoned by the United States.