Tornado survivors struggle to pick up the pieces

A man looks for personal items after a tornado struck Alabama.
A man looks for personal items in the debris of an apartment complex in the Alberta City neighborhood Thursday April 28, 2011, after a tornado struck Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Wednesday, April 27, 2011.
AP Photo/David Bundy

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alberta City neighborhood is part of Tuscaloosa's landscape of ruin. CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports the area is mostly low-income, and never more in need than now.

In the battered neighborhoods, people ask when help is on the way. For now, they're relying on each other.

Volunteers with Sons of Thunder, a Christian Ministry, handed out burgers, water and hope to storm victims like Mike Worth. The last meal he had was breakfast, yesterday.

Tornado death toll climbs to 318

Tuscaloosa's united by a sense of community. Chuck Sullivan of the Sons of Thunder says, "It's just our duty to help the folks out here who need it."

How to help tornado victims

Others need help with their grief. At least 45 people were killed in this college town. Carson Tinker and girlfriend Ashley Harrison were both hurled more than 50 yards from their flattened house. The University of Alabama football player survived. She did not.

Pictures: Aerial view of Tuscaloosa

Thecampus newspaper reports eight students were killed, but on one block, people say that number will climb, once all the victims are identified.

"It's awful," Jessica Geise says. "It took the whole house." Geise says there were four students inside one leveled house - with only one survivor.

After the storm, their neighbor and friend Jarrad Jackson says the survivor was in deep trauma.

"He was walking around, yelling, crying for them," Jackson said. The survivor was screaming their names, but "didn't hear anything."

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    Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.