Katrina Disaster Blog: Sept. 7

Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans Starr Toca, left, and her sister, Skye Toca, who are nineteen-month old twins, stand behind barricades at the Reunion Arena shelter in Dallas, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005. They were waiting outside with their parents looking for a cousin who they heard was staying at the Reunion Arena shelter. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)
This is a running list compiled by CBSNews.com staffers of the latest developments in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Sept. 7, 2005

10:05 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS — A state health official in New Orleans says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has 25,000 body bags on hand in Louisiana. That's according to Bob Johannessen, a spokesman for the state's Health and Hospitals Department.

Asked if authorities expected that number of bodies, he said: "We don't know what to expect."

9:47 p.m.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's death toll has now topped 200 and officials are expecting it to increase. Search and rescue crews on the Mississippi coast are continuing to look for victims of Hurricane Katrina. But after 10 days, their focus has shifted from saving lives to recovering bodies.

One emergency management official said, "if there's one miracle out there, we're looking for it."

8:34 p.m.
MIAMI (AP) — Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean has told one of the nation's largest black church groups that racism was a factor in the rising death toll from Hurricane Katrina.

Dean told the annual meeting of the National Baptist Convention of America in Miami that the nation must "come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not."

He also said the money that now supports the Iraq war could be used to rebuild New Orleans or to aid the poor and elderly.

6:37 p.m.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican army convoys and a navy ship laden with food, supplies and specialists traveled to the United States on Wednesday to help in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort — a highly symbolic journey marking the first time Mexico's military has aided its powerful northern neighbor.

The convoy was expected to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border Wednesday evening and cross into U.S. territory early Thursday, President Vicente Fox's office said.

6:18 p.m.
(CBS) — U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao signed a National emergency grant for more than $100 million to create 25,000 temporary jobs in the disaster areas, largely to assist in clean-up and recovery efforts.

5:33 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Barbara Bush was making "a personal observation" when she said poor people at a relocation center in Houston were faring better than before Hurricane Katrina struck, President Bush's spokesman said Wednesday.

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, did not answer directly when asked if the president agreed with his mother's remarks.

Mrs. Bush, after touring the Astrodome complex in Houston on Monday, said: "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." She commented during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace."

5:11 p.m.
HOUSTON (AP) — In the dark tunnels underneath the Astrodome, volunteer barbers and stylists have set up a shop where Katrina's refugees can get a shave or have their hair done for free before they set out to rebuild their lives.

"What they are doing is priceless," said storm survivor Keith Anderson, a 41-year-old probation officer who waited in line for a shave and a haircut he hoped would help him find a new home and a job.

"It could be the make-or-break of getting that job," he said. "Obviously, your appearance matters. It helps with your self-esteem. You definitely, definitely want to put your best foot forward."

About 8,000 storm victims from New Orleans are sleeping on cots and standing in line for showers at the Astrodome complex.

4:47 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Even as crews in New Orleans try to find and count the corpses that are decaying in the 90-degree heat, reports of the extent of the tragedy are starting to emerge.

A Louisiana congressman says more than 100 people died at a warehouse along a New Orleans dock. Congressman Charlie Melancon says they died as they waited for rescuers to take them to safety.

And a state lawmaker says 30 people died at a flooded-out nursing home just outside New Orleans. Nita Hutter says the staff had left the residents behind in their beds. A rescue that was supposed to take place never materialized.

4:29 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The post office is still trying to locate 2,000 of its workers.

In the Gulf Coast, 188 post offices have returned to full service, 189 are providing limited service and 120 are still closed.

"In some cases the facility has ceased to exist," Postal Service Senior Vice President Thomas G. Day said.

3:17 p.m.
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Rudolph Giuliani, who guided New York City through the dark days after Sept. 11, said there is no place for second-guessing during an emergency, and he is not interested in criticizing the way government officials handled Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

The former mayor said before a speech Tuesday that it is too soon to draw any conclusions about whether the agencies that responded took too long or who was responsible. When the situation stabilizes, Giuliani said, the nation can examine the rescue efforts.

2:58 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An anonymous donor turned up at a U.S. diplomatic office and presented an envelope with 1,000 euros for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

It was a way of repaying a debt to the United States for being liberated by American soldiers from a concentration camp and treated more than 60 years ago, Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said Wednesday in relating the incident.

The donor was 90 years old, but that is all McCormack would say by way of identification. "This is a person who is not seeking any publicity for this act — which in the time we live makes it even more extraordinary," he said.

2:41 p.m.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Mobile home manufacturers are preparing to boost production to provide housing for thousands of people in Mississippi and Louisiana whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but building supplies may be a problem.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked companies to assess their inventory to determine how many homes may be ready for immediate delivery to the hurricane zone, where many people who haven't evacuated are living in damaged houses, motels and tents.

2:17 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Congressional Budget Office is predicting a total of 400,000 jobs losses through the end of this year. Privately insured losses could exceed $30 billion, the agency said.

The impact of the storm on the budget deficit is unclear, CBO said. Before the storm, the White House was projecting a budget deficit this year of $333 billion, which would have been an improvement from last year's $412 billion deficit, a record in dollar terms.

2:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — EPA confirms flood water in New Orleans contains elevated sewage bacteria, plus high lead levels, and advises that people avoid the water as much as possible.

1:14 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The two top Democrats criticized the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina on Wednesday, with Sen. Harry Reid demanding to know whether President Bush's Texas vacation impeded relief efforts and Rep. Nancy Pelosi assailing the chief executive as "oblivious, in denial" about the difficulties.