The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 24, 2005

President Updates Press Pool on Hurricane Developments
Peterson Air Force Base
Colorado Springs, Colorado

President's Remarks

      In Focus: Hurricane Relief

7:50 A.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT: Admiral, thank you very much for a series of briefings that really do comfort me in knowing that our federal government is well-organized and well-prepared to deal with Rita. I've come here to watch NORTHCOM in action, to see first hand the capacity of our military to plan, organize and move equipment to help the people in the affected areas, in this case, Louisiana and Texas.

We've had full briefings on the storm, it's activities. The first order of business now is the search and rescue teams, to pull people out of harm's way. Just had an assessment by General Honore of Lake Charles, Louisiana -- it got hit hard. We've got teams on the ground, beginning to analyze the situation and prepare the necessary response to stabilize the situation, and, more importantly, stabilize there, as well.

It's very important for the citizens who have headed to East Texas to understand that even though the storm has passed the coastline, the situation is still dangerous because of potential flooding. A lot of people have left the coastline and headed into East Texas and parts of Western Louisiana. It's important for them to listen carefully to the local authorities about whether not it is safe to return back to their home. It's going to take a while for the authorities on the ground to fully understand the impact of the flooding. And, therefore, people who are safe now ought to remain in safe conditions.

At any rate, Admiral, thank you very much for your hospitality. I appreciate your leadership. I want to thank all the folks who work here in NORTHCOM for doing their duty, which is to organize and rally the assets of the of the federal government, to help our fellow citizens who are in need.

Thank you very much.

END 7:52 A.M. MDT

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