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In the News: Citizens of New Orleans Louisiana
Citizens made the news in Scholastic News Editions 3, 4 and 5/6 and Junior Scholastic on September 26, 2005

Six-year-old Keyontay Dimes, from Kenner, Louisiana, talks to the media
Six-year-old Keyontay Dimes, from Kenner, Louisiana, talks to the media on September 9, 2005, at Camp Edwards in Bourne, Massachusetts. Dimes, her family and some 200 other evacuees were moved from the Gulf Coast into a housing housing facility on a military base in Bourne, where they may stay for more than six months.
(Photo: Stephan Savoia/AP Wide World)
On August 29, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and the coastal regions of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Katrina is the most expensive natural disaster the U.S. has ever seen, with damages estimated at $200 billion. Katrina has displaced more than a million people and left 5 million without power.

"The city will not be functional for two or three months," said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

But New Orleans is not without hope. Local, state, and federal governments have been working hard to help evacuees recover and rebuild. Congress passed a $51.8 billion relief plan on September 8. The plan includes a wide range of benefits, including Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, and housing. President Bush said the goal of the plan "is not to simply provide benefits, but to make them easy and simple as possible to collect."

Americans have shown overwhelming support for the victims of Katrina; more than $1 billion in charitable contributions have been made so far. The American Red Cross has taken in $762.5 million, and the relief effort started by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton has raised $100 million.

The city is not yet safe to reopen, however. Mayor Nagin has issued another evacuation order in response to Hurricane Rita—a new storm threatening the Gulf Coast. Evacuees who had previously relocated to Texas are now moving again, to other parts of the country, in hopes of avoiding Rita's path.

While it will take time and resources to rebuild, the nation and the President stand firmly behind relief efforts. President Bush promised the federal response to Hurricane Rita would not be a repeat of the slow response to Hurricane Katrina. He also promised complete support in rebuilding New Orleans, which has always been below sea level.

"We will do what it takes . . . to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives," President Bush vowed. "There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again."