Hurricane Katrina facts and figures

Detroit Free Press


Losses put at $34.4 billion

Hurricane Katrina is likely to result in at least $34.4 billion in personal and commercial property loss claims, according to the first publicly released survey of the nation's insurers.

The preliminary estimate of damages to homes and businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia would make Katrina the most costly U.S. natural disaster ever, surpassing the inflation-adjusted $20.8 billion in losses from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The estimate was announced Tuesday by ISO, an insurance risk and data firm based in Jersey City, N.J.


La. death toll reaches 972

Officials ended their door-to-door sweep for corpses in Louisiana with the death toll Tuesday at 972 -- far fewer than the 10,000 New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had once feared after Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29.

Mississippi's death toll from Katrina stood at 221.


Clinton meets evacuees

Former President Bill Clinton met with dozens of New Orleans-area evacuees staying at a shelter in Baton Rouge's convention center Tuesday.

Some of the evacuees complained of lack of showers, clean clothes, privacy and medical care. "My concern is to listen to you ... and learn the best way to spend this money we've got," Clinton said. Clinton said he and former President George Bush have raised between $90 million and $100 million for the relief effort.


Half of city workers out

Cash-strapped officials in New Orleans said they will lay off 3,000 municipal workers, even as they struggled to convince residents to return to the city with promises that essential services will soon resume.

Mayor Ray Nagin announced with "great sadness" that he had been unable to find the money to keep the workers on the payroll. He said only non-essential workers will be laid off in the next two weeks and that no firefighter or police jobs would be cut.

The mayor said the move will save about $5 million to $8 million of the city's monthly payroll of $20 million.

Levee update: Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued pumping out the last bits of floodwaters from the Ninth Ward on Tuesday.


Business fairness sought

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Rep. Donald A. Manzullo, R-Ill., asked the Government Accountability Office on Tuesday to investigate whether small and minority-owned businesses have had a fair opportunity to compete for Katrina contracts.

About 1.5% of the $1.6 billion awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency has gone to minority businesses, less than a third of the 5% normally required.

The Department of Homeland Security, whose FEMA division handles most of the contracts, said it is committed to hiring smaller, disadvantaged firms. But many of the no-bid awards were given out to known players who could quickly provide help, spokesman Larry Orluskie said.


9 people charged

Nine people were charged with wire fraud for bilking the Red Cross of at least $25,000 donated for Katrina victims, the FBI said Tuesday.

Four of those charged were contract workers at a Red Cross national call center in Bakersfield, Calif., said U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott. The other five allegedly picked up checks they weren't entitled to.

Operators at the call center provide qualifying victims with a personal identification number they can use to receive funds from Western Union.

The Red Cross contacted the FBI after an audit found "that way too many people in Bakersfield were getting aid," Scott said.

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