Hurricane Katrina

Remembering Katrina – 10 Years After

 

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane season in 2005 was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history. The most devastating of all storms to hit the Gulf Coast that year was Hurricane Katrina. Katrina strengthened to a category five hurricane and weakened to a category three as it made landfall in southwest Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina wiped out and destroyed so much in a matter of hours:

  • 1,836 lives lost
  • $81 billion in property damage
  • 80% of New Orleans was catastrophically flooded

The Salvation Army emergency disaster workers and volunteers were on hand to deliver relief in the form of shelter, food and hydration, and emotional and spiritual care. $382M was generously given and entrusted to The Salvation Army to provide immediate and long-term support for survivors of the hurricanes. A total of $157 million was spent on immediate response efforts that included:

  • 178 canteen feeding units and 11 field kitchens brought in from across the country
  • More than 5.6 million hot meals and 8.2 million sandwiches, snacks and drinks
  • 178,313 cleaning kits and 235,229 food boxes (groceries)
  • 282,000 emergency disaster assistance cases registered
  • Emotional and spiritual care for more than 275,000 individuals
  • Direct financial aid, in the form of gift cards and housing/utility assistance
  • Equipment and transportation for Salvation Army disaster personnel
  • Assistance to more than 2.6 million survivors in the affected region
Hurricane Katrina survivors line up at The Salvation Army food canteens for meals.

Hurricane Katrina survivors line up at The Salvation Army food canteens for meals.

In Austin, Texas, under the Katrina Aid Today program, The Salvation Army Austin was able to provide long-term case management and emergency assistance in a number of ways:

  • Provided long-term case management to 262 families
  • Helped people maintain their housing or obtain housing by paying for deposits and rent
  • Provided referrals for counseling, therapy and spiritual care
  • Met weekly to collaborate with other local providers to ensure that needs were being met and services were not being duplicated
  • Helped families enroll their children in school
  • Worked closely with the school districts to get their children up to grade level through education and tutoring
  • Worked with the Red Cross and other disaster aid networks to help families find their loved ones
  • Provided vouchers for furniture from local Salvation Army Family Stores
  • Helped evacuees access job retraining to prepare them for tech jobs and other jobs relevant to the Austin economy
  • Helped families access housing and childcare and find employment

 

New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast were completely flooded and in ruin which forced many families to relocate to other cities and even other states. 25,000 survivors from the New Orleans Superdome were transferred to the Astrodome in Houston. The Salvation Army staff united with hundreds of pastors, church members and volunteers to help. Six to eight mobile feeding canteens were brought in from around the United States.

“What started as a possibility, became a probability, and concluded as a horrid reality. Buildings were obliterated, bridges broken, levees split asunder. It was in so many ways, ‘the worst of times.’ And yet The Salvation Army responded with promptness, competence, determination, daring and Christian love. The results were amazing. People were encourages, homes built, communities kept together, lives literally saved. Hurricane Katrina did indeed represent ‘the worst of times,’ yet in terms of serving hurting people in their time of greatest need and in the name of Jesus Christ, Katrina and its aftermath was also ‘the best of times.’ Never have I been prouder to be a Salvationist!”

-Major John Jordan, former Community Relations & Development Secretary

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Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina

http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/