Thousands set to leave Superdome

"Our view is the move to the Astrodome is temporary," William Lokey, chief co-ordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Reuters. "We're buying time until we can figure something out."

Evacuees with special problems have already been evacuated to hospitals in other Louisiana cities. The federal government will provide nearly 500 buses for the exodus to Texas and the Astrodome's schedule has been cleared until December for housing evacuees.

Amid the overcrowding at the Superdome, two deaths were reported, with one person alleged to have jumped from an upper level in a probable suicide.

Since the power went off during the storm, the stadium has had no air conditioning and only limited lights, kept glowing by an emergency generator. The dome is surrounded by flooded streets, and getting buses to the ramps will be difficult, if not impossible.

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