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'Significant Progress' In Draining New Orleans Floodwaters


The mayor of New Orleans says he is starting to see "significant progress" as engineers continue to pump water out of his flood-ravaged city.

Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday that 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. He pledged to rebuild the city, which officials estimate contains up to 160,000 homes that cannot be salvaged. Officials say it could take three months to dry out New Orleans. Mr. Nagin also urged the few thousand people remaining in New Orleans to evacuate immediately because of risks posed by fires, polluted water, and disease-bearing mosquitos.

Authorities are pulling bodies out of the city 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.

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