Death toll may not be as high as predicted

There are signs that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans may not be as large as authorities had feared.

The city's homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, says the first systematic sweep of the city has turned up far fewer bodies than expected. And he says "some of the catastrophic deaths that some people predicted may not have occurred."

The city's mayor had said the number of dead could reach ten-thousand.

Ebbert also says the voluntary evacuations in New Orleans are finished. He says "all those people who wanted to leave" have been found and moved out.

He says officials are starting their "recovery operation" today. Ebbert says the search for bodies will be "very tedious" and it will take a long time for searchers to visit every wrecked home as the flood recedes.