Water removal process accelerated as health authorities warned of health risk

A newly repaired levees and overworked pumps made visible progress Tuesday. In flushing out Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters from the river city sodden streets. But medical authorities warned that contaminated water would pose a health risk until it could be fully drained over the next three months.

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President Bush and Congressional leaders grappled with looming decisions about how to proceed with disaster relief and recovery plans at the same time that the White House again tried to allay the barrage of criticism over the federal government's initial response to Katrina.

Bush said he would he intended to mount his own inquiry and said Vice President Dick Cheney would tour the storm-pulverized region Wednesday to "assess our recovery efforts." But the president resisted an immediate investigation, saying: "I'm going to find out over time what went right and what went wrong."

As White House officials worked on a new round of emergency aid that could funnel up to $40 billion to stricken Gulf Coast states, Congress began pursuing its own inquiries. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, said the panel would investigate the federal government's performance. "Government at all levels failed," she said, reports LA Times.

According to Reuters, the city was modifying and would reissue the mandatory evacuation orders put in place as the powerful hurricane bore down on the low-lying U.S. Gulf Coast city, he said.

Even as authorities demanded an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 remaining citizens clear out, a dozen bedraggled people clutching their lives in gym bags waited for hours for a bus to take them away from the city's convention center.

French Quarter residents Albert Ventura and Christina Langley said state police and National Guard troops had told them to move back and forth four times between two apparent pickup points.

Nobody seemed to know for sure where they should go, who would pick them up or where they would end up.

"Right now I just want to get somewhere where I can call my two sons, tell them to come and get me," said Langley, 36, a restaurant manager. "It's like, I quit."

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