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Site Allows Families to Connect Following Disaster


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NBC's Clair Leka Reports Victims of the hurricane are trying to get messages to relatives in any way possible. News crews have been inundated with people wanting to record messages telling their loved ones they are okay.

Frances Ringwell, Hurricane Victim: "I'm letting my brother in Gilbert, South Carolina know that we're fine. Thank you."

James, Hurricane Victim: "I hope my mom and everybody is safe, I'm James. I'm still up here, I'm on canal mom. I tried to get through to see ya'll bout couldn't find anybody."

As messages like this trickle out, a flood of requests for information pour into the region. And as those requests go unanswered the frustration is growing all across the country.

Marlene Dennis can't reach her 18-year old son Rupert, a freshman at Xavier University in New Orleans. She last talked to him on Monday.

Marlene Dennis, Mother of College Student: "If you go down there you don't know what you are going to run into, you don't know what your going to run into - it's beyond my control."

Eric Beal fled New Orleans to Texas and is now at the Houston Astrodome and hoping to find his father.

Eric Beal, Son of Victim: "And all I can do is sit here and wait until they put together some sort of list to see if he's even in this dome."

There's a massive communications breakdown as cell and landline phones don't work. And there is no master list being compiled so far of who is missing and who has been found. The internet has become a powerful tool in times of crisis, similar to post 9/11 and the tsunami friends and family members are turning to dozens of web sites for any information.

NBC, along with msnbc.com, just launched its own national registry where names can be added to a 'looking for' or 'safe list'. All you have to do is click on one of the lists and you'll get a form to leave instructions or messages.

Within minutes MSNBC had hundreds of posts, like the one searching for Blake Mouch of New Orleans. The message says Ginny is desperate to hear from you. Another post from Eve and Chris Guthrie of Slidell, Louisiana says, "we are safe."

Rufus Brumfield and his wife are scanning TV reports and searching the internet for any word from his 54-year old father.

Rufus Brumfield, Son of Hurricane Victim: "Just to find out where my family are, and make sure that they are safe. Communication is the key right now and prayer."

Until he hears more it's the only thing getting him through.

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