Police officials threatened Wednesday to resort to forced evacuations by the end of the week to clear out residents who had not left, pointing to environmental tests warning of dangerous bacteria levels in the floodwaters.
As health authorities joined New Orleans and Louisiana officials in urging the city's estimated 10,000 holdouts to leave their homes, Bush administration officials said they would earmark $51.8 billion in new funding to speed help to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Amid simmering anger about the federal government's halting response, congressional leaders formed a joint House-Senate committee to investigate the breakdowns after the storm hit Aug. 29.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said the inquiry would scrutinize government performance across the board. "The initial response to Hurricane Katrina was unacceptable at the local, state and federal levels," he said.