President Bush Issues Disaster Declaration

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - President Bush today declared an emergency exists in Mississippi and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local efforts for Hurricane Gustav. Governor Haley Barbour had sought the designation to get emergency services in place in advance of the storm. Gustav is now a Category 4 storm. It crossed Cuba's western tip before moving into the Gulf of Mexico and could reach the U.S. by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Bush's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. During the day, National Guard soldiers have been going door-to-door in Harrison and Hancock counties to alert families living in FEMA trailers and cottages that they should be prepared to evacuate Sunday. Residents in flood prone areas were also being contacted. Jeff Rent, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management agency, says Jackson County expected to join the evacuation list on Monday. On Friday, Barbour declared a state of emergency and issued a stern warning that the entire state would be affected by a hit from Gustav.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-08-30-08 1637EDT