On 29 August, Hurricane Katrina smashed into three US states on the Gulf of Mexico, leaving in its wake the worst natural catastrophe in US history. Over 250 people died due to the hurricane. At least 273,000 people made homeless by the storm have been put up in a variety of shelters in 16 US states. More than one million people in Louisiana have been displaced by Katrina.
Katrina devastated 235,000 square kilometres (90,700 square miles), an area half the size of France or as big as Romania. Forty to fifty kilometres (25-30 miles) of Mississippi shoreline were obliterated. 80 % of New Orleans ended up under water. After having reopened the city for the returning displaced population, city officials estimate more than 300,000 New Orleans residents have still to return. The federal government is providing varying amounts of assistance to evacuees to cover temporary housing and living expenses. Still, the need for assistance in renovation and reconditioning of living space is enormous, particularly in low-income areas that were hardest hit.Affordable housing for the tens of thousands of poor people and families who have been displaced will be one of the most urgent problems throughout the hurricane region. The re-building work will take years to complete.
The Order of Malta in the United States and its three national Associations have many years of experience with Rebuilding Together, known previously as Christmas in April. Rebuilding Together is expert at renovating the homes of the poor and the elderly. The three US Associations of the Order of Malta in cooperation with Malteser International, Rebuilding Together and the Catholic Charities Services New Orleans will renovate a number of homes in the New Orleans Area.
Assistance for over 200 families in New Orleans in a three-phases home renovation program:
|Duration:||November 2005 to April 2007|
|Financing:||Order of Malta Hurricane Relief Fund, Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH), donations|
|Partner:||Catholic Charities Services (Operation Helping Hands), Rebuilding Together|