Video: Storm victims seek shelter, food

By Lester Holt Anchor
Weekend Today
updated 8/31/2005 7:49:11 PM ET 2005-08-31T23:49:11

The only thing angrier than Katrina are the tired, hungry and thirsty she has left in her wake.

A handful of stores finally opened their doors Wednesday and the people of Gulfport were ready for them.

Along Highway 49, homeowners hearing word of a broken water pipe lined up for water — possibly the only running water for miles.

At Central Middle School — now an emergency shelter — a child found relief from the heat in a rain puddle and storm refugees ate their first hot meal in days.

Hundreds huddled in dark sweltering hallways where frustration is high and nerves are raw.

"FEMA is moving supplies and equipment into the hardest hit areas as quickly as possible," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff Wednesday in Washington.

In fact, some help arrived Wednesday morning. The National Guard gave away six truckloads of food, water and ice to thousands of people who waited in line. It was all gone in four hours.

But before it ended, things got a bit out of hand. One guardsman said a few people were pushed and water was taken from them.

Several hours later, a second handout proved more orderly.

But what residents don’t have are reliable communications, with phone and cell service largely down. Local radio tries to keep residents abreast of services and supplies, but many find themselves dependent on the rumor mill and word of mouth.

And until basic services are up and running again, the people here have no choice but to go along with the flow.

© 2013 NBC News.  Reprints

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