Katrina: One of the Most Costly Catastrophes of Our Time

Hurricane Katrina could prove to be one of the costliest natural disaster the United States has even seen. According to the Associated Press, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is spending more than $500 million a day to provide food and water, clothing, shelter, debris removal, troops and evacuation busses for hurricane Katrina’s victims.

Senate minority leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev) said the total tab for the federal government may top $150 billion. Making Katrina one of most costly U.S. catastrophes ever.

The worst single event on record was Hurricane Andrew, which struck Florida in 1992, inflicting $21 billion in damages. Experts speculate that Katrina will probably take place number four in the race of most expensive catastrophe in U.S. history after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Last Friday, Sept.2, lawmakers promised that a $10.5 billion measure funding immediate rescue and relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina would be but the first step toward a comprehensive response by Congress to the catastrophe. Bush promised Congress would provide more humanitarian aid, combat gasoline price gouging, provide assistance to businesses and the unemployed, rebuild infrastructure and utility systems, and help local law enforcement.

President Bush intends to seek as much as $40 billion to cover the next phase of relief and recovery from Hurricane Katrina, congressional officials said Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Katrina is likely to end up as one of the most expensive storms ever for insurers. Insurance companies have reported losses ranging from $10 billion to $25 billion, which would amount to the largest loss from a single event since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Damage estimates generated by computer models had ranged as high as $30 billion.