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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
Katrina survivors tell of chaos
People stranded in New Orleans wait for rescue
Many people are still trapped in New Orleans awaiting rescue
Survivors of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina have been telling of their experiences in its aftermath.

A massive relief operation is under way on the US Gulf Coast, as supplies run low and lawlessness spreads.

The evacuation of flooded New Orleans has been ordered as the situation there grows increasingly desperate.

One woman, Alexandria Wheeler, said she had been forced to change her eight-month-old twins on a dirty floor as she waited to be rescued.

She said: "That's all I have, me and my children. Nothing else matters. Clothes, all those materialistic things, I can get that back.

"My life, I'm just glad we got out with our lives. That's all that mattered to me, getting out in one piece.

How is a three-week-old infant going to survive out here with no milk, no water?
New Orleans survivor
"A lot of people lost their lives unnecessarily. This city knew what was going to happen. We were unprepared for it.

"It's a good thing we know how to survive. Because if we didn't know how to survive as a people, we'd be dead just like the rest of them."

Another woman stranded in New Orleans told TV reporters:

"People are dying, they're dying. Babies are dying, there's an old lady over there dead in the chair. People are dying. We're starving out here."

A man added: "You got a three-week-old infant out here. How is a three-week-old infant going to survive out here with no milk, no water?"

Turned away

John Graydon, a British man whose son is one of thousands trapped inside the Superdome stadium in New Orleans, said he feared they could come to harm there:

A woman helps another overcome by heat in New Orleans
Survivors are struggling without power and clean water

"Their safety, they believe, is in danger, because there's a large element of bullies actually within the dome. One of the officers did actually get shot and it woke my son up, which frightened the life out of him.

"And when you queue up for your water, the biggest get it first and by the time the ordinary people - including the old, as well as my son - get to the front, they get turned away because they haven't got any more left."

Another woman waiting to leave the city accused the authorities of doing too little.

"You got a lot of elderly people in this building today who could not evacuate," she said.

"You got a lot of people that didn't have a quarter to, say, catch a bus to get out of this town. And the government did nothing."

Staying put

One man, brought to safety in Houston from the Superdome, told reporters what he had witnessed in New Orleans:

"There was a sight. I couldn't believe my eyes. I never imagined that that much water could be brought up in the city of New Orleans like that.

"It was so fast. I mean rising fast and rising in minutes. Every five, 10 minutes you got about two foot or three foot of water. Just like that. It was a terrible thing."

Some residents of Biloxi, in Mississippi, have opted to stay in their badly damaged homes despite the threat from looting and disease.

One of them, Kelly Grisham, said:

"It's better than the shelter because it stinks in the shelter. There isn't any water, and at least we can be alone here and have no problems with nobody, so we're here."


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