More than ever, the Internet is playing a huge role in the effort to pick up the pieces from Hurricane Katrina. From information and news to relief efforts and searches for family members, people are turning to the Web.
For The Times Picayune, the major New Orleans Newspaper, the Internet is the only means of publication. For the second day that paper has been published online only. The staff has evacuated to Baton Rouge. Their headline today: "Katrina, the storm we have always feared."
For residents of the Gulf States, the Internet and wireless technology are the only means of getting information about loved ones.
I read this posting this from a blogger at live journal who is in New Orleans and has no phone or electricity, but "for some reason I get text messages. If you need me that's how you can get in touch with me."
The reason she can still get text messages--they don't require a constant phone line. Phone lines are down, but those messages can occasionally get through.
And there are message boards for survivors and people looking for family members. HurricaneKatrinaSurvivors.com is one website with message boards and information.
There I found messages like this one, "My parents and my sister stayed behind during the hurricane. I can't reach them. Worried in New York."
New Orleans Pundit is a blog that has message boards for people in all neighborhoods of the city. There are messages there today from people looking for loved ones and for updates on the condition of their neighborhoods.
Now, if you are looking for a loved one in Southern Mississippi, the blog Eyes on Katrina has established an "I'm OK" line with the Sun Herald. That number is 1-866-453-1925.
Finally today, bloggers are banding together to start their own relief effort. Head to the blog Truth Laid Bear--this blogger is one of coordinators of Katrina Blog Relief Day. These bloggers are telling readers how to contribute to the charities assisting people in the areas hit hardest by this storm.