Such was the state of affairs at the end of the second day of the great disaster. But meanwhile the entire country had been aroused by the tidings of the awful calamity, the sympathetic instinct of Americans everywhere was awakened, and it was quickly made evident that the people of the stricken city would not be allowed to suffer for the necessaries of life. On all sides money was contributed in large sums, the United States Government setting the example by an immediate appropriation of $1,000,000, and in the briefest possible interval relief trains were speeding toward the stricken city from all quarters, carrying supplies of food, shelter tents and other necessaries of a kind that could not await deliberate action.
Shelter was needed almost as badly as food, for a host of the refugees had nothing but their thin clothing to cover them, and, though the weather at first was fine and mild, a storm might come at any time. In fact, a rain did come, a severe one, early in the week after the disaster, pouring nearly all night long on the shivering campers in the parks, wetting them to the skin and soaking through the rudely improvised shelters which many of the refugees had put up. A few days afterward came a second shower, rendering still more evident the need of haste in providing suitable shelter.
All this was foreseen by those in charge, and the most strenuous efforts were made to provide the absolute necessities of life. Huge quantities of supplies were poured into the city. From all parts of California trainloads of food were rushed there in all haste. A steamer from the Orient laden with food reached the city in its hour of need; another was dispatched in all haste from Tacoma bearing $25,000 worth of food and medical supplies, ordered by Mayor Weaver, of Philadelphia, as a first installment of that city’s contribution. Money was telegraphed from all quarters to the Governor of California, to be expended for food and other supplies, and so prompt was the response to the insistent demand that by Saturday all danger of famine was at an end; the people were being fed.
The broken waterpipes were also repaired with all possible haste, the Spring Valley Water Company putting about one thousand men at work upon their shattered mains, and in a very brief time water began to flow freely in many parts of the residence section and the great difficulty of obtaining food and water was practically at an end. Never in the history of the country has there been a more rapid and complete demonstration of the resourcefulness of Americans than in the way this frightful disaster was met.