Katrina Disaster Blog: Sept. 14

Guvaka Reid, of New Orleans, feeds her ill six-week-old son Edmonte Percy at a shelter for Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2005. Reid and her three children swam and waded out of their neighborhood to the Superdome when New Orleans flooded. Reid has a job waiting for her, but cannot start until she finds a permanent home to take her family from the chilly building they are staying in now.(AP Photo/LM Otero)
This is a running list compiled by CBSNews.com staffers of the latest developments in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Sept. 14, 2005

11:05 p.m.
CAPITOL HILL (AP) — The U-S Senate has approved housing vouchers for more than 350,000 families made homeless by Hurricane Katrina. The emergency vouchers would average $600 a month for up to six months. There are no income limits. Any displaced family would be eligible for the program.

It's expected to have a $3.5 billion price tag. The legislation, by Maryland Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes, was attached on a voice vote to an unrelated spending bill.

10:13 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll finds that Americans say rebuilding New Orleans is more important to them than cutting taxes or changing Social Security. According to a CBS-New York Times poll, almost two-thirds, 63 percent, say rebuilding New Orleans is more important to them than changing Social Security. And almost three-fourths, 73 percent, say it's more important to them than cutting taxes.

9:32 p.m.
Watch coverage of Hurricane Katrina from the CBS Evening News:

7:09 p.m.
HOUSTON (AP) — At least two of the Katrina refugees scattered around the country have committed suicide, and 55 others have died as well, most of them sick and elderly people whose conditions may have been worsened by their stress, authorities said Wednesday.

In Texas — which has at least 250,000 Katrina victims, more than any other state — at least 53 have died in the 2 1/2 weeks since they were evacuated from the New Orleans area. Two deaths were reported in Tennessee.

Two suicides were reported in the Houston area: A 44-year-old man from Metairie, Louisiana, shot himself to death in a Humble hotel Sept. 4, and on Saturday, a 25-year-old man from Marrero, Louisiana, hanged himself in a Pasadena apartment, authorities said.

Most of the post-Katrina dead were elderly or already sick, with heart conditions, cancer or other terminal illnesses, authorities said. Many had been living in hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. Several suffered heart attacks.

4:13 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Full mail service has resumed in more than 80 percent of the post offices affected by Hurricane Katrina, Postmaster General John Potter said Wednesday.

More than 30,000 Social Security checks were distributed to evacuated persons at special pickup points, Potter said. He estimated that 100,000 people have filed change-of-address forms with his agency after having to relocate as a result of the storm.

1:46 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina.

The New York Democrat's bid to establish the panel — which would have also made recommendations on how to improve the government's disaster response apparatus — failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

12:19 p.m.
DALLAS (AP) — Continental Airlines plans to resume flights to New Orleans on Monday, and Southwest Airlines says it will announce a startup date in the next few days.

American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier, still plans to resume service Nov. 1 but could move that date up.

10:50 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The floodwaters in New Orleans still pose a health risk because of dangerous levels of sewage-related bacteria and toxic chemicals, according to government test results released Wednesday.

A minimal number of air pollutants, such as methanol, isobutylene and freon have been found but at levels that officials don't believe pose health risks.

Young children are most susceptible to illness because their immune systems still are developing. However, the EPA said the amount of chemicals found in the water would pose a risk to children only if a child were to drink a liter of floodwater a day.

9:15 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Industrial output rose only slightly in August as Hurricane Katrina severely cut back production of petroleum and chemicals along the Gulf Coast.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that industrial output rose a tiny 0.1 percent last month — far below economists' expectations — as Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 28, forced sharp cutbacks in oil and natural gas extraction in the Gulf of Mexico and also depressed output at refineries and chemical plants in the areas hit by the hurricane.

6:15 a.m.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The Gulf Coast flooding spawned by Hurricane Katrina is evoking memories of another U.S. disaster more than a century ago: the 1889 Johnstown Flood. A 35-foot-high wall of water burst out of a manmade lake, rolled 14 miles downstream and destroyed the city of Johnstown, Pa., killing 2,209 people.

Finger-pointing then focused on shoddy upkeep of the dam, which created a lake for a fishing-and-hunting club that catered to rich people. There was some looting. And it took the state militia two weeks to get there.

More than $3.5 million in donations poured in from around the world and there were fundraisers, one of them a concert hosted by the premier musician of the day, John Philip Sousa.

6:05 a.m.
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The Department of Transportation is reeling from the effects of Katrina. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says it's the worst natural disaster in U.S. history for the department. Mineta toured the Mississippi Gulf Coast and pledged to fully fund repairs to a major highway in the region.

6 a.m.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama health and welfare officials are bracing for the long-term Medicaid and housing needs from Hurricane Katrina, which will likely take a major financial toll on Alabama by next year. A spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency says over 41,000 Alabamians have registered for some type of assistance after their homes were damaged or destroyed.

5:30 a.m.

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — State police say they arrested a Hurricane Katrina survivor evacuated to Rhode Island last week by federal officials. The 43-year-old man was wanted for larceny in Louisiana and fraud in Texas.

5 a.m.
NEW YORK (AP) — Glamour and attitude are the usual watchwords for Fashion Week, the annual event that gives designers a chance to drum up business and public interest as they parade their latest styles. Generosity, however, is just as important this year — beginning with the Fashion Rocks concert last Friday and winding up with a Fashion for Relief runway show on Sept. 16th to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina. Participants will include Naomi Campbell, Iman, Cindy Crawford, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie.

12:30 a.m.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi GOP Sen. Trent Lott and Texas Democratic Rep. Solomon Ortiz are asking President Bush to keep open two Naval stations in their home states that had been targeted for closure.

They say such facilities are needed to respond to catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission recently voted to shutdown Naval Station Pascagoula and Naval Station Ingleside in Texas.

12:15 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says dry areas of the city — including the French Quarter, Uptown and the central business district — might be officially opened from dawn to dusk as soon as Monday, provided that the Environmental Protection Agency finds the air and water are safe.

"We're out of nuclear crisis mode and into normal, day-to-day crisis mode," said Nagin.

He adds that the city is out of cash, cannot make its next payroll and is working "feverishly" with banking and federal officials to secure lines of credit through the end of the year.

Read previous Katrina Disaster Blogs:
Sept. 13, Sept. 12, Sept. 11, Sept. 10, Sept. 9,Sept. 8, Sept. 7, Sept. 6, Sept. 5, Sept. 4, Sept. 3, Sept. 2, Sept. 1, Aug. 31