Katrina Aftermath – The Mississippi Numbers

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Satellite Photo - Hurricane Katrina

Satellite Photo – Hurricane Katrina

Editor’s Note: First posted on Daily Kos under the same title on February 16, 2006. I attempted to do some six month out research on the actual impact of Katrina on the national economy, based on published news sources. This post contains fair-use excerpts from various news sources, with linked references.

From today’s edition of our local Knight-Ridder newspaper The Sun Herald comes this timely front page editorial MISSISSIPPI’S INVISIBLE COAST

The editorial’s lede:

“As Aug. 29 recedes into the conscious time of many Americans, the great
storm that devastated 70 miles of Mississippi’s Coast, destroying the
homes and lives of hundreds of thousands, fades into a black hole of
media obscurity.
Never mind that, if taken alone, the destruction in Mississippi would
represent the single greatest natural disaster in 229 years of American
history. The telling of Katrina by national media has created the
illusion of the hurricane’s impact on our Coast as something of a
footnote.”

The article puts the continuing disaster of New Orleans in proper perspective:

“The awful tragedy that befell New Orleans as a consequence of levee
failures at the time of Katrina, likewise, taken by itself, also
represents a monumental natural disaster. But, of course, the
devastation there, and here, were not separate events, but one, wrought
by the Aug. 29 storm.”

To put a better perspective on the extend of Katrina storm damage, we are talking more than 140 miles of coastal area in complete destruction from this storm. 140 miles of people rebuilding their homes, their lives, their businesses, and otherwise attempting to recover from their losses.

The Sun Herald asks a question:

“Could it be possible that the ongoing story of an Alabama teenager
missing in Aruba has received more coverage on some cable networks than
all of the incredibly compelling stories of courage, loss and need of
untold thousands of Mississippians? Maybe a lot more coverage?”

Here is a the current statistics of Katrina related losses for Mississippi. Note that there was damage further upstate from this hurricane that is not even reflected in these statistics. If coastal Mississippi is invisible, the upstate Mississippi area is a black hole – there was tornado and wind related damages at least as far north as the city of Jackson, in the center of the state.

Note that damages from Hurricane Rita is also included in insurance claims. Hurricane Rita, sweeping through a few weeks after Katrina, is another black hole completely lost in the chaos caused by Katrina. By rights, Rita should have been considered a major hurricane – the storm surge at my home was about 7 feet, tying with 2002’s Hurricane Lily for the third highest surge (after Katrina and hurricane George in 1998) it has ever been since I’ve lived here.

Katrina’s Numbers for Mississippi:

$125 billion: Estimated dollar amount of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina
231: Identified dead statewide
5: Unidentified dead
67: Missing
65,380: Houses in South Mississippi destroyed
383,700: Mississippi insurance claims filed (Katrina and Rita)
$5 billion: Claims paid (as of Nov. 21)
141,000: Insurance claims filed in South Mississippi
$1.3 billion: Claims paid in South Mississippi
44 million: Estimated cubic yards of debris in South Mississippi
21.8 million: Cubic yards removed as of Dec. 5
20,447: Red Cross staff and volunteers in Mississippi
5,543,006: Red Cross meals served
42,768: People sheltered by Red Cross
229: Red Cross shelters opened
$185 million: Red Cross money spent in South Mississippi as of Nov. 30

Some more Katrina numbers:

$5.2 billion: Amount of federal aid money in the recent Katrina relief package earmarked for housing reconstruction in Mississippi
(Source)

$2.116 billion : Amount of money the Red Cross has raised in donations and pledges for Katrina Relief efforts as of Feb 3.
80% : Amount of this money the Red Cross claims to have spent on total Katrina relief efforts as of Dec 31, 2005.
(Source)

40,000: Requests for FEMA trailers in Mississippi as of Feb 9
34,560: Requests met in Mississippi as of Feb 9.
(Source)

10,770 FEMA trailers staged in Hope, Arkansas awaiting to be delivered (many of which are now damaged from improper storage)
$431 million: Cost of these trailers in taxpayer dollars
(Source)

379: Number of pages in the House Select Committee’s report on Hurricane Katrina.
(202) 226-5200 Phone number to call an order a copy, if you are unable to download it from the House Website.
(Source)

And the final number is 104 – Number of days before the next hurricane season officially starts.

Note: Edited August 29, 2014 for format and grammatical errors.

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