Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not Even the Gulf Coast This Time

We in Mississippi have become used to the fact when Hurricane Katrina is mentioned in the news and in documentaries, we are relegated to the faceless and vague "Gulf Coast". In documentaries that aired on channels such as the Discovery Channel, we have become used that footage of the storm surge that occurred in Gulfport and Biloxi is shown while the narrator talks about New Orleans. We are used to these same documentaries showing damage from Mississippi towns such as Waveland and Pass Christian while once again narrating New Orleans. But at least these documentaries mention the faceless and nameless "Gulf Coast". Now, a usually respected science website doesn't even deem it worthwhile to even mention the "Gulf Coast" when it lists the top ten US natural disasters. It has Hurricane Katrina at number 2 and this is what it states:

Hurricane Katrina - Aug. 29, 2005

The Atlantic storm that began as a category 1 hurricane as it blew across southern Florida wound up being the country's costliest tragedy. Katrina roared into the Louisiana coast with 125 mph sustained winds, causing a storm surge that broke levees that shielded New Orleans from surrounding, higher coastal waters, and leaving 80 percent of the city under water. Katrina killed at least 1,836 people and inflicted damages estimated at around $125 billion.

No mention that Hurricane Katrina made its landfall in Mississippi. No mention of the terrible and awesome storm surge that engulfed my once beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast. No mention that 400,000 people, almost the same population as New Orleans, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast had their lives turned upside down. No mention that 238 of those who died in Hurricane Katrina were from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. No mention of the fact that as of 2006, $10 billion in insurance claims in Mississippi had been filed. Those figures do not include flood and wind pool claims. But based on the number of homes Katrina destroyed in Mississippi and the amount that can insured, another $2.5 - 5 billion could be added to just the insurance costs alone. Those insurance figures do not take into account the actual costs of rebuilding, just the amounts claimed.

As of 2006, $14 billion in Hurricane Katrina insurance claims had been filed in Louisiana.

I could find no clear cut figures for the economic impact of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi but based on the insurance claims for both states, it is easy to conjucture that of the $150 billion economic impact of Katrina, between $45 billion(30%) and $67.5 billion(45%) was damage to Mississippi.

Missippi and Hurricane Katrina should not be relagated to the vague "Gulf Coast" or not even mentioned when discussing the top natural disasters to hit the US.


Looking Forward said...

Shira, I saw your question about tefillin on dovbear's blog.

to be honest its a fairly sensitive and particular issue.

I can answer your questions (as well as state catagoricaly that the rabbi you heard was an ignoramous) but it still is complicated.

if you would like an answer, you can email me, but I am unwilling to place the particulars of this on a public forum, as it is a sensitive issue.

sorry for the intrustion, and I hope the best for you and your journey into judaism.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for responding. I figured his response was incorrect but said to say, there seem to be quite a few rabbis like him. My email is navarone1978 @ hotmail . com

Unknown said...

Good point about insurance claims as an assessment of actual damage. In our case - our insurance company did not include our total damages in the 'claim' amount... Officially it was stated that we 'claimed' around 20k worth of damage.. and that this 'claim' was paid in full (something which looks fantastic for the insurer when spouting statistics, I'm sure)... However - the 'claim' they referred to was what they had assessed as wind damage only. Because we did not carry flood insurance... The other 100k for structure.. plus who knows what for contents, detached structures, and outbuildings was not included in any reported figures. My guess is that this was the case for a LOT of people along our coast.