The Stars and Stripes will fly at half-staff all over the United States to show respect to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to an order signed by US President George W. Bush Sunday.
The US national flags will be flown at half-mast at the White House and on all US public buildings and grounds as well as at all military posts across the country until the sunset of Sept.20, said a proclamation from the White House.
All US embassies, consular offices, military bases and other overseas facilities are required to do the same.
Hurricane Katrina made its first landfall on the United States on Aug. 25, and swept the US Gulf Coast region on Aug. 29, causing massive destruction and unprecedented life and property losses.
At present, the Bush administration continues its rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of the deadly hurricane.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Sunday that the overall death toll of the disaster could reach thousands.
This is the first confirmation from the federal government that the hurricane probably took thousands of lives.
Local officials said in New Orleans, Louisiana, alone, the death toll will finally go up to the thousands as the city started body counting Sunday.