NEW ORLEANS — Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, President Barack Obama will visit the city on Thursday, August 27th to tour neighborhoods and meet with families still recovering from the devastation.
He’ll meet with Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss rebuilding efforts and deliver remarks promoting economic innovation in the storm’s aftermath, the White House said.
When Obama took office in 2009, the effects of the storm four years earlier were still readily seen in New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods were condemned after flooding.
Hurricane Katrina left some 1,800 dead and a million people displaced, and laid bare the socioeconomic and racial disparities rampant along the Gulf Coast.
Speaking at the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Obama lambasted the response from President George W. Bush’s administration, terming it “a shameful breakdown in government.”
“It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe,” Obama said then, referring to “bodies lying in the streets of a great American city.”
A White House official said that during Obama’s time in office, “the administration has focused on supporting the needs of survivors and bolstering the recovery efforts…by cutting red tape to deploy important resources quickly, investing in hard hit communities, and ensuring that affected communities build back stronger and more resilient.”
His visit to New Orleans is book-ended by major climate speeches in Nevada and Alaska, though Obama isn’t expected to make as strong a push for curbing climate change while in Louisiana. In the past, Obama has cited more severe and unpredictable weather as a reason for taking steps to reduce emissions that cause global warming.
Here’s a look at some Hurricane Katrina statistics.
August 29, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a Category 3 storm with 127 mph winds between Grand Isle, Louisiana, and the mouth of the Mississippi River at about 6 a.m. – Severe flooding damage to Gulfport, Mississippi, New Orleans, Louisiana, and areas in between. – Some levees are overtopped in New Orleans, and there is extensive damage to the Superdome roof, where more than 10,000 people sought shelter from the storm.
According to FEMA, Katrina is, “the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history.”
According to FEMA, the total damage for Katrina is estimated at $108 billion. This makes it the “costliest hurricane in U.S. history.”
Fatalities: (directly or indirectly) – Alabama: 2 – Florida: 14 – Georgia: 2 – Louisiana: 1,577 – Mississippi: 238 – Total: 1,833
Private Insurance Payments: Insurance companies have paid an estimated $41.1 billion on 1.7 million different claims for damage to vehicles, homes, and businesses in six states. 63% of the losses occurred in Louisiana and 33% occurred in Mississippi.
Hurricane Katrina is the costliest disaster in the history of the global insurance industry.
By 2007, 99% of the 1.2 million personal property claims had been settled by insurers.
Source: Insurance Information Institute, 2010
National Flood Insurance Payments: The National Flood Insurance Program paid out $16.3 billion in claims. $13 billion went to claims in Louisiana.
June 2006 – The Government Accountability Office releases a report that concludes at least $1 billion in disaster relief payments made by FEMA were improper and potentially fraudulent.
Impact on the Gulf Coast: More than one million people in the Gulf region were displaced by the storm. At their peak hurricane relief shelters housed 273,000 people. Later, approximately 114,000 households were housed in FEMA trailers.
FEMA has provided more than $15 billion to the four Gulf states for public works projects such as the repair and rebuilding of roads, schools, and buildings, in the 10 years since the storm, and $6.7 billion in recovery aid to more than one million people and households.
The majority of all federal aid, approximately $75 billion of $120.5 billion, went to emergency relief operations.
40% of the deaths in Louisiana were caused by drowning. 25% were caused by injury and trauma and 11% were caused by heart conditions.
Nearly half the fatalities in Louisiana were people over the age of 74.
Sources: The Data Center, FEMA
Impact on New Orleans: 80% of the city flooded after levees failed.
The population of New Orleans fell from 484,674 in April 2000 to 230,172 in July 2006, a decrease of over 50%. By 2014, the population had increased to an estimated 384,320, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, putting New Orleans back on the list of the 50 most-populous cities that year.
70% of New Orleans’ occupied housing, 134,000 units, was damaged in the storm.
Sources: The Data Center, U.S. Census Bureau