'It reminds me of Baghdad in the worst of times'

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A man walked past the bodies dragging a pallet loaded with big bottles of ginger ale, some plates and a frying pan. To the rest of America watching the tragedy unfold on their televisions, he was one of the looters, denounced by President Bush.

But to the people inside the convention centre, he was one of a band of heroes keeping them alive. "The people who were going into the stores would give us water and food, said Edna Harris, Henry Carr's aunt. "There would be ladies with babies and they had no milk, and these guys would break in and bring them milk."

Kyle Turner, a 28-year-old dishwasher, was looking for some clean water. "My son is six months old and we got no milk. I just got two cans of powdered milk, and I need some water for it," he said.

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At www.guardian.co.uk

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