The personal stories of refugees at a Salvation Army relief centre in Biloxi, Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

From 23 to 31 August Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast of the United States resulting in over a thousand deaths and leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

The townland of Howard on the Mississippi is now characterised by piles of rubbish and houses in ruins with a stench of seaweed and rot.

Where once were houses, gardens and life, now there's nothing but a pile of rubble, trees and decay.

Washington Correspondent Robert Shortt speaks to a Vietnamese immigrant who has lost everything as a result of the hurricane which has ripped the community apart. He and his wife and child now live in a temporary shelter.

Howard was once an ordinary suburb but now it is just a scattered mess of cookers, washing machines, and clothes. Rescue workers have so far uncovered four bodies in the area and expect to find more as their work continues.

At a nearby Salvation Army food centre, volunteers give food to those who otherwise would have nothing. One volunteer says that given the destruction in the area he imagines that the food centre will be there for the next month or so. The centre provides around twelve hundred meals a day and food supplies are beginning to get through.  

As the rescue work continues, stories of miraculous escape continue to unfold. One man describes how the hurricane destroyed the houses on his street one by one.

This is the dismal reality facing thousands of people here. Their lives have been reduced to piles of rubble.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 2 September 2005. The reporter is Robert Shortt.