A Birmingham University student trapped in the New Orleans Superdome could be out within the next 24 hours.

Marisa Haigh, 23, from Guildford, told parents Christopher and Jane that US forces plan to bus them out of the city. She said they will either be taken to Houston with the rest of the evacuees or the Europeans will be separated from the Americans and taken to Dallas.

"This is the first time we had contact with her for nearly a week," said Jane, 61.

"Not knowing if she was okay has been really hard but we feel a lot easier now we know she is safe. She has been told that they should be out tomorrow or the day after."

Mrs Haigh, Marisa's stepmother, said Marisa spoke to her father Christopher, 57, from a borrowed telephone. She said she had reported similar stories of mobs and violence.

She said: "The conditions are appalling - there is no sanitation or running water. They have drinking water now but it is very hot. There are about 50 white people who have been separated from the blacks because some were becoming quite violent and unpleasant. I'm sure Marisa will have a lot of stories to tell when she gets home."

The student, who had been travelling around the US with a female friend, told a Daily Mirror correspondent inside the dome how a group of British students had gathered there to ride out the storm.

She said: "There was a series of almighty bangs when the roof went and a panel flew off. There was a woman screaming, 'We're gonna die, we're all gonna die'."