Soldiers, dispatched by President George Bush, had planned to set up tent cities for 4,000 to 5,000 people and 20 mobile kitchens over the weekend. However, last night only four of the kitchens were running.
Thousands of people have been living in battered cars or camping in the rubble of houses flattened when Hurricane Andrew struck last Monday after ripping through the Bahamas. It went on to devastate the coast of Louisiana.
Many Florida families have been forced to scavenge for scraps of food and clean water.
The military relief effort, which will eventually land 8,000 soldiers in south Florida, is one of the biggest in American peacetime history. Portable toilets, tents, generators, water purifiers and earth-moving equipment were among items disgorged from regular military flights yesterday.
The hurricane has claimed 25 lives in Florida so far, plus four in the Bahamas and three in Louisiana. It may be the costliest natural disaster in US history.