On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana. That was five years ago, but the memories of that day are still painful. As these statistics show, Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history:
- 1,833 people were killed in 7 states
- 135 people are missing; their fate is unknown
- 420,000 houses were damaged or destroyed
- 1.2 million people had to leave their homes and move to other areas
- estimated property damage is more than $81 billion
- 80% of the city of New Orleans was flooded when the levees failed
- 30 oil platforms were damaged or destroyed
- 1.3 million acres (5,300 km²) of forest were destroyed (320 million trees killed or damaged)
Now, five years later, the city of New Orleans is still struggling. The most important industries (tourism, oil, gas, and shipping) have not recovered. Housing is scarce, and very expensive. The crime rate remains high.
Still, there has been progress. Average wages have increased by 14%. Many people are starting new businesses. The health care system has been improved. There are new arts and culture programs provided by non-profit organizations. The school system is better than ever.
It’s been a difficult five years. But the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have worked hard to bring their communities back to life. People from all over the country volunteered to help them. In the year following Katrina, over half a million Americans went to the area to help search for survivors, give out food and supplies, and to rebuild homes. Even now volunteers continue to go and help with the work that remains.
The photo above is from “The Big Picture – News Stories in Photographs.” They have a large collection of amazing photos from the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Have you ever experienced a natural disaster?