BATON ROUGE, La. - Three days before the federal government's self-imposed deadline for emptying shelters of Hurricane Katrina victims, more than 22,000 are still waiting to get out, the head of the Katrina relief effort said Wednesday.
The number of people in shelters in Louisiana and around the nation peaked at more than 270,000 on Sept. 8, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen said. President Bush last month set a mid-October goal for getting evacuees out, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been shooting for Oct. 15.
The figures released Wednesday represent a reduction in the shelter population of about 92 percent.
Allen did not address whether the goal would be met. And FEMA spokesman James McIntyre sidestepped the question, saying, "It was always a goal. We're still working toward that goal."
Long-term temporary housing still must be found for at least 400,000 other Katrina victims now staying in hotels or lodging with friends or family.