Posted Feb. 27, 2006 – Six months after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless, jobless and without life-sustaining services, most of the relief funds are gone.
The problem is, according to a Washington Post survey, there is less than $1 billion remaining of the $3.27 billion raised by charities. Hundreds of millions of dollars more are needed to pay for remaining long-term needs, such as rebuilding homes and schools, training people for new jobs, paying pastors who are waiting for congregations to return, aiding art organizations, and providing mental health counseling.
Most of the money raised was spent on victims' immediate needs, such as cash, food and temporary and medical care, the Post reported. Much of the spending was driven by the American Red Cross, which spent 84 percent of the $2.1 billion it raised. The Salvation Army spent 36 percent of the $336 million it raised. Of the estimated $1 billion remaining, more than half is in the hands of faith-based organizations, the Post reported.
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"There are many, many needs that the federal government cannot cover," said Don Powell who was appointed by President Bush in November as coordinator of the Gulf‘s long-term recovery .
"It's not public works. It's not water, sewage or utilities. It's the soul of our life," Powell told the Post.
It's not clear what the government will pay for, compared to what charities will cover, the newspaper said.
Many nonprofit organizations, according to the Post, say the poor government response to the disaster is prompting groups to spend charitable money on projects that might otherwise be paid for by the government.
The Aug. 29 storm killed nearly 1,300 people and reportedly destroyed about 300,000 homes.
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