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USA: Hurricane Katrina recovery update - Week 30

Release Number: 1604-297
BILOXI, Miss. - More than seven months after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with local and state organizations, as well as voluntary agencies to aid Mississippians in their recovery process.

Federal and state disaster officials provided the following summary of the ongoing assistance effort as of close of business March 29, 2006. Please see attached spreadsheet for county-specific information.

Total Assistance

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Preparing for Future "Katrinas"

Robert E. Litan
While policymakers and leaders continue to debate the rebuilding of Gulf areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, a much greater loss looms on the horizon. Katrina exposed more than problems with poverty, emergency management, and infrastructure. The storm also illustrated the inability of private insurance markets to handle large-scale losses. "Mega-catastrophes" are catastrophic events, like Katrina, whose costs are so large and unpredictable that private insurers either are unwilling to insure against them, or charge premiums so high that significant numbers
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USA: New Katrina recovery grants for youth programs help thousands of children

Mercy Corps
New Orleans, LA - Summer education and after school programs, day care centers, and arts and sports programs for youth received a boost today with the distribution of more than $600,000 to nonprofit organizations in the Gulf to hasten their recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
The humanitarian relief organization Mercy Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, announced today the 39 awardees of their Youth Recovery Fund, which was created following a study by Tulane University's School of Social Work that identified a serious gap in youth social services.
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USA: Seven months after Katrina: FEMA aid to Alabama tops $591 million - Individuals and families receive $123.6 million

Release Number: 1605-200

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - In the nearly seven months since Hurricane Katrina came ashore and battered the Gulf Coast, federal and state officials have approved well over half a billion dollars in disaster aid to Alabamians and evacuees from other states affected by the storm. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, aid to Alabama has now topped $591 million.

"As we proceed in the recovery phase,

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Kobe quake offers lessons to Katrina survivors

by Allen Johnson
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, March 23, 2006 (AFP) - Housing is a top priority for Hurricane Katrina victims now, but social ties with family and friends will play an increasing role in the struggle to recover, according to two Japanese disaster experts.

"Ten years from now, many of you will look back and say, 'Sure, I lost many things. I will not be able to go back to the old happiness. But I will be able to create new happiness with new friends.' That is what we found in the Kobe experience,"

Agence France-Presse:

©AFP: The information provided in this product is for personal use only. None of it may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the express permission of Agence France-Presse.

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USA: Six months after Hurricane Rita

Release Number: 1603-414

BATON ROUGE, La. - Six months after Hurricane Rita tore through southwestern Louisiana, leaving damaged homes and businesses in its wake, the state of Louisiana is pressing steadily forward on its road to recovery. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working closely with the state to conduct recovery efforts, complete response activities and to fully prepare the state for future storms.


Hurricane Rita was the seventeenth storm,

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USA: Federal allocations in response to Katrina, Rita and Wilma

Federal allocations in response to hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma now total over $88 billion. Additionally, over $8 billion in tax relief is available, and another $19.8 billion in spending has been proposed by the Bush administration in February 2006. While these numbers appear quite large, widespread uncertainty exists over how much of this money has actually been spent and where.

This brief with the accompanying tables illustrates the program categories behind the federal allocations to date for hurricane recovery activities (see Table 1) and the chronology of legislative

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USA: New Orleans mayor warns of risk in rebuilding plan

By Jeffrey Jones
NEW ORLEANS, March 20 (Reuters) - New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin finalized a sweeping plan on Monday to rebuild the city after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, rejecting calls to turn ruined neighborhoods into parks but warning some residents that floods are still a risk.

Nagin delivered his recommendations on a slew of proposals by his Bring New Orleans Back Commission, which seek to revive the battered city's communities, repair its economy, revive its rich cultural scene and restructure a city government hobbled by inefficiency long before the storm.

Reuters - AlertNet:

For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit

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USA: NCC Special Commission is 'deeply troubled' by FEMA decision to end hurricane housing

Washington, D.C., March 16, 2006 -- The National Council of Churches' Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast said it was "deeply troubled" by the Federal Emergency Management Administration's decision to end temporary housing for hurricane victims.

In a statement released today, the Special Commission said:

We are deeply troubled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's decision to end funding for temporary housing for Hurricane Katrina evacuees as of yesterday. This premature and unnecessary

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One great hour of sharing helps UMCOR change lives

The house on Little River Road is still on its pad, unmoved by the water that rushed in from two directions in a Bayou La Batre, Ala., neighborhood. The roof had been partially dislodged by the high winds of Hurricane Katrina that blew through this coastal town last August.
Inside, everything Gwen Landry had worked for was lost. Today, thanks to United Methodist action, Landry has a new lavender bedroom, a brilliant yellow kitchen, fresh carpeting and a new roof.

"I never thought there were that many good people left in the world," Landry said of the United Methodist support.

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USA: Red Cross engages partners to boost future response

Brian McArthur , Special to
Even as the American Red Cross continues to feed families affected by last year's hurricanes, the organization took another step in its efforts to meet future disaster needs by hosting a candid panel discussion with national relief agencies that partner with the Red Cross.

Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter welcomed the panel, which had been asked to respond to a conceptual draft of proposed changes to the way the Red Cross responds to disasters of all sizes. Noting that the Red Cross was entering its 125th year, she underscored

American Red Cross:

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives..

© Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.

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USA: Katrina and Goliath - why the greatest military and economic power in the world didn't protect New Orleans

By Ben Wisner, Oberlin College, Ohio, and Peter Walker, Feinstein International Famine Center
In terms of human suffering, the 1,281 lives lost and the 600,000 people displaced when Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast on 29 August do not stand comparison with the huge loss of life, destitution and upheaval that followed the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 or the earthquake in Kashmir in October 2005. Deaths in Guatemala due to mudslides triggered by Hurricane Stan, the storm that followed Katrina, may equal fatalities on the US Gulf Coast. Nevertheless, there are important
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USA: Helping mobilize a medical unit

With more than 100,000 displaced people from New Orleans now living in Baton Rouge, La., the city is struggling to meet the additional healthcare, education and housing demands. Northwest Medical Teams has been privileged to meet many people stretching to meet those needs, & among them, Dr. Cheri LaBlanc.

Dr. Cheri (last names are usually omitted in the Gulf States ) helped start a free medical clinic at Healing Place Church 's Dream Center in Donaldsonville, La., a year ago. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she began praying & sharing her vision for a mobile medical clinic.

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U.S. House panel approves new hurricane aid

By Richard Cowan and Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - A House committee on Wednesday approved about $19 billion in new emergency funds to help clean up and rebuild southern states, including nearly $1.5 billion for repairing New Orleans levees ruined by Hurricane Katrina last summer.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure, which is coupled with about $70 billion in new emergency funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A full House vote is expected next week.

The House action came on the same day

Reuters - AlertNet:

For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit

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USA: Hurricane Katrina update - 7 Mar 2006

On August 29, Hurricane Katrina, which would become the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, came ashore with a sustained wind speed of 145 mph along Grand Isle, Louisiana. The sheer force of hurricane storm surges, and the subsequent levee system breech in New Orleans, ultimately claimed 1,417 lives and caused damages over $75 billion to the Mississippi-Louisiana Gulf Coast.

More than 1 million people were directly affected by the hurricane, with hundreds of thousands of persons dispersed throughout the U.S. As of January 31, a total of 78,694 federally funded

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USA: New Orleans wall rebuilding on track, engineers' General says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2006 -- Restoration of the flood protection system in New Orleans is on track and by June 1 will be equal to or better than it was before Hurricane Katrina, the Army general in charge of the program said here yesterday.

To date, 100 of the 169 damaged miles of levee have been repaired, and 85 percent of pumping capacity is restored, Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, commander and chief of engineers, Army Corps of Engineers, said at a White House news conference.

In meeting President Bush's June 1 commitment,

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USA: Six month after Katrina - Local agency funds reconstruction, mobile health care

(PORTLAND, ORE -- March 7, 2006) Armed with cold packs, aspirin and work clothes, nine volunteers with West Linn 's Windermere/Cronin & Caplan Realty Group, are in Mississippi with Northwest Medical Teams this week, rebuilding homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
This is the fourth work team sent to the region; an additional 15 volunteer work teams are scheduled during the next nine months. Crews will serve in Moss Point, Biloxi and Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and New Orleans, doing both clean up and reconstruction.

"Housing is the number one need

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USA: Home demolition begins in hard-hit New Orleans areas

By Jeffrey Jones

NEW ORLEANS, March 7 (Reuters) - Homes in New Orleans that were torn from foundations in Hurricane Katrina and suffered the worst damage are being demolished, nearly two months after the city ended legal action by agreeing to notify the owners before bulldozing them.

Crews began the process this week of clearing away condemned houses -- or in many cases just chunks of houses -- that were picked up by floodwaters and ended up strewn across roads and sidewalks in ravaged neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward and Lakeview.

The city has initially targeted 120 twisted

Reuters - AlertNet:

For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit

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USA: Disaster aid hits new high

Congress is considering another $20 billion in aid to hurricane-impacted zones.
By Ron Scherer | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

If 2005 hurricane relief were a separate category in the US budget, the only larger items would be defense, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The federal commitment in the aftermath of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma has now hit $88 billion, with at least another $20 billion under consideration in Congress.

This has become the largest disaster relief effort the government has agreed to - more than the combined amount