Emergency officials in the Southern US State of Texas say
they have rescued about two thousand people who ignored evacuation
orders and were stranded by Hurricane Ike. They say thousands of others
are in the same situation.
Officials on Sunday strongly discouraged those who did evacuate the
Texas coast from attempting to return home. Officials say many roads
are impassable because of downed trees, storm debris and standing water.
Large portions of coastal Texas are without electric power and natural
gas. Officials say it could be weeks or months before the utilities are
Rescuers are using helicopters, boats and trucks to search for storm survivors who need help.
President George Bush said Sunday that search and rescue efforts remain the area's top priority.
Authorities fear many people could be trapped in their homes for days, waiting to be rescued.
The storm swept through Texas Saturday.
President Bush has released federal aid by declaring a major disaster
in Texas and parts of neighboring Louisiana. Mr. Bush says he will
visit Texas on Tuesday to express sympathy and support for storm
Ike weakened into a tropical depression as it moved inland to the north
and east, causing less damage than predicted. The storm has killed at
least two people in the United States.
Forecasters say the storm will continue to dump heavy rain and might
spawn tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri.
Houston authorities have issued a citywide nighttime curfew for the remainder of this week.
The storm also caused significant damage in southern Louisiana.