Hurricane Katrina's MS Damage Update - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Hurricane Katrina's MS Damage Update

New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

UPDATE, TUE, 9:30 AM: The National Guard assumes people will keep taking food, water and ice as long as they keep giving it away.

Members of the Alabama National Guard will again form an assembly line of sorts, in a Mississippi shopping mall parking lot Tuesday. They had a steady stream of cars and trucks lined up Monday, thankful for the cases of water and crates of MREs.

Meanwhile, residents who returned home to Point Port, Mississippi, Monday found their homes destroyed or unrecognizable. The town is in hard-hit Harrison County, home to Biloxi.

Those who stayed through the storm say nobody imagined Katrina would do so much damage to their homes, which were constructed under new guidelines passed after Hurricane Camille hit the area in 1969.

UPDATE, FRI, 9:00 AM: There are reports of ice for $10 a bag and gasoline at $6 per gallon as Mississippi, like Louisiana, tries to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Mississippi's attorney general says he'll investigate the complaints.

Many residents remain without food, water, electricity or gasoline.

Some officials say 126 people are dead, but Governor Haley Barbour says he's been told it's more like 150 and likely to grow.

All along the state's 90-mile coast, emergency workers perform the grisly task of retrieving corpses, some of them lying on streets and amid the ruins of obliterated homes.

Barbour says thousands have already been rescued and "significant" fuel supplies have been secured.

Adding to the misery are tons of rotting shrimp and chicken, blown inland from their containers at a shipping dock.

UPDATE, FRI, 8:20 AM: Mississippi's death toll from Hurricane Katrina has reached 126, as more rescue teams spread out to search for the living.

All along the 90-mile coast, emergency workers are performing the grisly task of retrieving bodies. Some of the dead are lying on streets and in the ruins of obliterated homes that stretch back blocks from the beach.

Tons of rotting shrimp and chickens blown from containers at a shipping dock were dumped into the water and onto the tattered landscape.

State emergency officials say 882,000 homes or businesses are still without electricity. Some won't have power for weeks - or longer.

Even in northern Mississippi, locals and stranded evacuees wait for hours to buy gasoline at upward of $3 a gallon. There were complaints that a few stations were selling gas for up to $6 a gallon.

UPDATE, FRI, 8:10 AM: Some of the places that are worst off after Hurricane Katrina are tiny places with names like Bond, Thomasville, Maxie and Star. They're Mississippi hamlets, miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

The few people who live amid the pines in the small houses and single-wide trailers are mostly black and poor. They have no food, water, electricity or gasoline after getting a direct hit from Katrina.

Red Cross trucks and the National Guard and the local power trucks are roaring right by. They're heading for places where there are larger numbers of victims.

A woman in Bond says "people back here are going to starve" if someone doesn't stop soon. In Thomasville, a woman whose family has been cooking meals on a barbecue grill says they're "learning to do without."

An emergency official has confirmed that there have been at least 50 hurricane-related deaths in Mississippi's Harrison County.

UPDATE, THU, 9:00 AM: Utility officials say it will take up to a month to restore power to tens of thousands of customers in Mississippi.

Damage from Hurricane Katrina is so extensive that Mississippi Power officials say they'll have to rebuild or repair 70 percent of their transmission and distribution lines.

The company serves nearly 200,000 customers in southeastern Mississippi. In a statement, the utility says it will make "immediate progress in some of the less damaged areas." It says thousands of utility workers from other states are working on repairs or are on the way.

UPDATE, WED, 9:30 AM: The governor says his state has turned a corner, but there are "lots of corners left to go" in recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Haley Barbour tells NBC, the first 24 hours after the massive storm were the worst, because emergency workers and survivors couldn't move. He says the state's roads were all blocked with trees, debris and downed power lines. He says rescuers are extending their reach now.

The governor is also thanking Ohio, Florida and other states for sending help. Barbour says he's stunned by the damage. He says 25-to-30 miles of the Gulf Coast are "absolutely obliterated."

Tuesday night, more than 900,000 customers in the state lacked power. One county reports at least 100 deaths.

WED, 5:00 AM: The death toll from Hurricane Katrina is now at 100, in Mississippi alone.

Tuesday: Governor Haley Barbour says one Mississippi county alone, may have suffered up to 80 deaths. Barbour tells NBC it could be "a very bad disaster, in terms of human life." The mayor's office in Biloxi says a massive storm surge knocked out five casinos. It damaged the Hard Rock Cafe and washed out the bottom floor of a condominium. Along one Mississippi highway, motorists have been using chainsaws to remove trees blocking the road.

A woman who survived the destruction of a Mississippi apartment complex is describing just how she managed to escape as the complex fell apart in the rising waters from Hurricane Katrina.

Emergency operations officials believe about 30 people died at the apartment complex, along the beach in Biloxi. Officials say there could be as many as 80 dead in the county.

Joy Schovest says, "The water got higher and higher. It pushed all the doors open and we swam out." She says, "We grabbed a lady and pulled her out the window and then we swam with the current." Schovest says it was "terrifying." She says cars were floating around her as she and her boyfriend tried to swim to safety. She says, "We had to push them away."

Schovest was in tears as she described the ordeal. She says she's sure her family thinks she's dead, because cell phones aren't working. She won't say why she stayed behind, despite orders to evacuate.

Previously: A Mississippi official is calling it a "major tragedy" and "preventable." At least 54 people have been killed along Mississippi's coast by Hurricane Katrina. Harrison County Emergency Operations spokesman Jim Pollard says, it's too early to say, but it's possible the number of deaths could climb. Pollard said about 30 are dead in Biloxi. Many of the victims were found in an apartment complex near the beach.

Earlier, authorities said three people had been killed in central Mississippi, by falling trees. At least two deaths in Alabama are blamed on storm-related highway accidents. In New Orleans, scores of people have been rescued from rooftops and attics, as floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina rose around them. In some cases, rescuers sawed through roofs to get to people who had taken shelter in their attics.

Louisiana's governor says the state has no official death toll, but says she expects that to change as some neighborhoods are under as much as 20 feet of water. And just a short time ago, it was confirmed, a levy in New Orleans has suffered a two city-block-wide breech. That has some hospitals now scrambling to get patients to safety.

As for the thousands of people who took shelter in the Superdome, conditions there are reportedly muggy and miserable. The roof has holes and there are leaks everywhere, but some people sheltering a second night at the Louisiana Superdome, are thankful for one small sign of progress: a little fresh air. As National Guardsmen watched to make sure they didn't leave, some refugees from Hurricane Katrina lined up for a stroll on the large walkway around the dome Monday night.

Many of the refugees are old and frail. A top official at the company that runs the stadium says two people have died, though he gave no details.

For as many as 9000 refugees the Superdome has been both miserable and a blessing. The bathrooms are filthy, barrels overflow with trash and the air conditioning quit when power went out Monday morning. Officials are considering moving some of the most frail to better accommodations.

Katrina ripped two holes in the curved roof when the storm barreled through the city.

Contributions courtesy AP, All Rights Reserved.

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