As we welcome former President Carter, his wife Rosalyn and a small army of Habitat for Humanity volunteers participating in the Carter Work Project, the Sun Herald took a look at where we stand almost three years after Katrina.
- Some 45,000 FEMA trailers were placed in Mississippi to shelter storm victims. As of this week, there were 7,027 units still occupied. FEMA still operates 11 trailer parks, but more than 75 percent of the trailers are on private property.
- Katrina left 329,870 customers in Coastal Mississippi without power. Some 40,950 poles were damaged or replaced. Since the storm, enough wire to connect from Biloxi to Vancouver, British Columbia, which are 2,261 miles apart, was strung by the area’s three power companies – Mississippi Power, Coast Electric and Singing River Electric.
- Katrina destroyed more than 64,120 homes in South Mississippi, and damaged 77,670. By the storm’s first year anniversary, more than 41,000 building permits had been issued.
- Just over 31 million cubic yards of debris has been removed in the six southernmost counties, which represents 100 percent of the refuse that FEMA has agreed to reimburse local governments to remove. The debris Katrina created in those counties is enough to fill the 72,000-seat Louisiana Superdome roughly seven times. Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992, had been considered the most destructive hurricane to hit the United States. It left 15 million cubic yards of debris in Florida, but Katrina generated more than 46 million cubic yards of debris in Mississippi alone.
The biggest issue yet to be resolved is the high cost of insurance.
High insurance costs have stifled development in some cases, as well as prevented many homeowners from rebuilding and also caused rents to rise.
The shortage of affordable housing has made South Mississippi a difficult place for much of the workforce to live.
During the week, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity will build 20 homes in Pascagoula, 10 in Biloxi, rehab 30 in Gulfport, and prefabricate 48 to put on a site later.
Here is the link the WLOX video report on the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.