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Bush Praises Gustav Reponse, Says Better Than Katrina

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U.S. President George Bush says coordination in dealing with Hurricane Gustav is "a lot better" than it was during Katrina three years ago.

Mr. Bush was speaking Monday Austin, Texas, a staging point for the emergency response. He has been at the center of the preparation and response to Gustav, in sharp contrast to his administration's role in Hurricane Katrina, considered a low-point of his presidency.

While the president was optimistic about preparations, he cautioned that the storm is serious, and has yet to pass.

New Orleans, northeast of where Gustav made landfall Monday, is nearly empty. An orderly evacuation, with buses for the poor and infirm, began days ago. The main presence in the city now is the National Guard and police to help prevent the widespread looting that followed Katrina. The Guard has begun to go around the city to check for damage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has truckloads of emergency supplies in 15 places nearby. Eighteen search-and-rescue teams are also in place. After Katrina, rescue efforts were largely uncoordinated.

Crews have built new floodgates along parts of Lake Pontchartrain in the last three years. But none has yet been built at the entrance to the Industrial Canal, where lake waters swollen by Katrina flooded the city's lower Ninth Ward. Floodwaters today began to overtop the canal's levee.

Some information for this report was provided by AP. - Reported by VOA News.

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