WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday that 1,400 National Guard troops per day are being sent in to control looting and lawlessness in New Orleans, quadrupling the regular police force in the city by the weekend.
Already, 2,800 National Guardsmen are in the city to help local police since Hurricane Katrina produced devastating floods in New Orleans, Chertoff said at a news conference with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Another 1,400 Guard troops and military police units are being added daily, he said.
"Security is a concern," Gonzales said. "It is a priority."
National Guard troops are controlled by the governors of individual states.
"We will be deploying into New Orleans a force the size of the New Orleans police department each day, every day, for the next three days. That is a remarkable movement of law enforcement capability into an area that clearly needs augmentation and reinforcement," Assistant Defense Secretary Paul McHale said.
Separately, Chertoff said the Coast Guard has rescued 3,000 people from flood and hurricane-damaged areas but acknowledged that continued flooding in New Orleans has made the federal government's job unusually difficult.