On Monday, Aug. 29, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, marking one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.
The category 4 storm is believed to have killed thousands, making it the deadliest since the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which claimed between 6,000 and 8,000 lives.
Hurricane Katrina devastated a wide territory, from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans, La., with
fierce winds and storm surges. In New Orleans, which sits below sea level,
the situation worsened after Katrina left town.
On Aug. 30, the levee system that protects the city from the water of Lake Pontchartrain was breached,
resulting in heavy flooding. Draining the city could take between one and three months, according to the U.S. Army.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described the situation as
"probably the worst catastrophe, or set of catastrophes" in our country's history.
More than 1 million people were displaced from their homes, and millions more lost power.
Hundreds of thousands are in need of food, water and shelter.
Television screens, slideshows, maps and blogs tell the horror stories of the calamity. Sailboats are sitting on city streets,
swept there by the force of the hurricane, which demolished buildings in Gulfport,
Miss. The Biloxi, Miss., Air Force Base is 95 percent "smashed," according to an
Air Force official. Statistics from the aftermath are just beginning to be tallied.
While state and federal officials are focused on assisting evacuees, maintaining order, restoring
power and repairing roads, Americans are looking for ways to help relief efforts. Contributions had reached $93 million as of Sept. 1, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. American corporations,
including Wal-Mart, Verizon, Anheuser-Busch and Pfizer, are
also giving in unprecedented amounts. Corporate contributions totaled $27 million as of Sept. 1.
To learn more about the storm and how you can help, explore the resources below. To check on the
reliability of charitable organizations, visit
GiveSpot.com's Evaluate Charities resources.