The Financial and Social Impact of Hurricane Katrina: Why Charity is Necessary

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...
Hurricane Katrina Wikipedia

Hurricane Katrina’s Impact

Hurricane Katrina’s impacted 90,000 square miles in the Gulf Coast region.

Government officials estimate over half a million citizens may require mental health assistance to deal with higher rates of anxiety, depression, social impacts and anger.

It is estimated that Hurricane Katrina caused over $75 billion (2005 US dollars) in damages, making it the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history.

1.3 million acres of forest and wetlands were destroyed. The forestry industry estimates that losses due to Katrina at about $5 billion.

One year after, 40 % of New Orleans homes were still without electricity.

Almost 1,800 deaths were attributed to Katrina, the vast majority, 1,600,  occurred in Louisiana.

Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina (and Hurricane Rita) caused a population drop of nearly 500,000 residents.

In spring of 2006, less than 33% of public schools have reopened in Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes. Only 66% of public schools reopened in the New Orleans Metro area.

In the New Orleans metro area, more than half of the grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores and other retail food establishments remain closed for business.

In the small Hancock County town of Bay St. Louis, nearly every business and home was heavily damaged or destroyed. Today, some salvageable homes are being repaired, but 70 percent of businesses remain closed.

A statewide Louisiana plan to evacuate pets during hurricanes is being worked out by state and local officials, who are required to map the procedures under a new law enacted to avoid the problems that erupted after Hurricane Katrina struck.

Gulf Coast residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina began learning during the last week in July whether they’ll get up to $150,000 for rebuilding in a federal program that is sending more than $10 billion to Mississippi and Louisiana homeowners.

Last year, $4.25 billion was donated by individuals in response to hurricane Katrina. (An additional $1.54 billion was donated to Tsunami victims,and $0.04 billion to victims of the earthquake in Pakistan.)
During 2005, donations to human-services organizations rose by 28 percent, to $25.4-billion. The increase was largely fueled by efforts to aid disaster victims, but even when disaster-relief donations are not counted, contributions still rose by 11.3 percent.

36 percent of all 2005 disaster relief donations went to human service organizations in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Less than 1 percent of disaster relief went to Environment (0.39), Education (0.14), and Health (0.12) related charities.

Over seventy countries pledged monetary donations or other assistance in response to hurricane Katrina. Kuwait made the largest single pledge, $500 million; other large donations were made by Qatar ($100 million), India, China (both $5 million), Pakistan ($1.5 million), and Bangladesh ($1 million).

In the aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 13 million Americans made donations to relief efforts online and seven million set up their own hurricane relief efforts using the internet.

Around $170 million in in-kind donations were given in response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita by individuals, corporations and foundations. The majority of these donations consisted of food, clothing, and medical supplies.

The majority of donations received for hurricane relief were spent on feeding and sheltering evacuees, and direct financial assistance, some of which continues to this day.

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