After Karina: Thousands thought dead, insurers expect $25B impact from hurricane

Less than a year after the largest humanitarian effort in the world due to an earthquake-spawned tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the United States is now dealing with its own historic humanitarian effort to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina which struck the Gulf Coast on Tuesday leaving a path of destruction across three states -- Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. As such, the water industry steps to the fore with donations of equipment, supplies, personnel and money...

TULSA, OK, Sept. 1, 2005 -- Less than a year after the largest humanitarian effort in the world due to an earthquake-spawned tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the United States is now dealing with its own historic humanitarian effort to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina which struck the Gulf Coast on Tuesday leaving a path of destruction across three states -- Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama -- with early estimates of $25 billion in damage.

Amiad Filtration Systems president Issac Orlans encouraged people to donate to the American Red Cross, noting, "It is natural that many of us feel helpless during these critical search and rescue hours. Yet, there is much we all can do. We here at Amiad encourage everyone to volunteer in any capacity they feel comfortable, be it giving money, blood and/or time. The rebuilding of lives and infrastructure will be a long, arduous road. By supporting one another in spirit and in deed, we will and can make a difference."

President Bush, who was criticized for being slow to react to the Dec. 26 tsunami damage, was again attacked for not ending his summer vacation in Crawford, Texas, sooner and delaying a decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves -- since a large part of the nation's fuel refining infrastructure was affected sending oil prices above $70 a barrel. FEMA still had no viable command and control center in New Orleans as of today -- over three days after the hurricane struck. Other criticism centered on cuts to the Army Corps of Engineers budget that would have paid for efforts to prevent the breadth of damage, particularly in New Orleans -- which has been left in a catastrophic state from which it likely will take years to recover.

In New Orleans, a levy holding back water from Lake Pontchartrain was breached and the city, which lies below sea level, was inundated with water. In some places, flood waters were as much as 20 feet high, with 80% of the city said to be under water. With as many as 200,000 stranded, the New Orleans mayor said the dead were likely to number in the thousands. Meanwhile, Biloxi, Miss., which bore the full force of the eye of the hurricane, was devastated by a storm surge that swept as much as a mile inland. Insurers anticipated a cost of $25 billion due to the full breadth of the damage along the Gulf Coast.

Refugees fled to Atlanta, Birmingham and Houston. Thousands that had gathered in the Super Bowl were being evacuated to either Houston's Astrodome or Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, along with others from the city and region. National Guard and military reserve units, already stretched thin due to service in Iraq and Afghanistan, were called up for search and rescue efforts, with some diverted to quell looting and lawlessness.

Still, a slew of companies began to make pledges to assist in the relief effort, as did musicians Jay Z, Diddy and Celine Dion, who donated $1 million each. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund had collected $21 million -- $15 million from online donations. To learn more and to donate to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, see: American Red Cross.

And a celebrity telethon, A Concert for Hurricane Relief, was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 2, 8 p.m. ET -- headlined by New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr., Aaron Neville and Wynton Marsalis. VH1 planned a similar event Sept. 10. Actor Morgan Freeman, who owns a home in the Mississippi Delta that escaped damage, was coordinating an online auction toward relief efforts. And Jerry Lewis announced the MDA's Annual Labor Day Telethon would also solicit funds to help Katrina's victims.

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For more news, see the following news stories:
"Wetland Issues Exposed in Wake of Hurricane Katrina" -- NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 1, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Seven months after the release of a national survey that showed most Americans did not believe a tsunami-like disaster could happen on U.S. soil, the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina has painted a more sobering picture...

"ITT Industries pumps on the scene in Big Easy" -- HARRISON, NY, Sept. 1, 2005 -- ITT Industries Inc. of Harrison is the largest maker of pumps in the world. Its products are about to be put to the test in New Orleans. Seventy of the company's large-scale pumps are part of the city's floodwater protection system, one of the biggest in the world. Since it started supplying them in 1980, ITT is among the largest providers of pumps for the city and surrounding parishes...

"Koch Industries Pledges up to $2.25 Million for Hurricane Relief Efforts" -- WICHITA, KS, Sept. 1, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Koch Industries, LLC is donating $1 million to the American Red Cross for its Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and $250,000 to the Salvation Army for its programs in the affected states. The company also will match up to $1 million in employee donations to either organization...

"Siemens to Send Power, Medical, Water and Telecommunications Equipment to Aid in Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts" -- NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Siemens today announced initial deployment of critical infrastructure equipment needed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The company is sending power generators to hospitals in Houston and Louisiana and telecommunications equipment to emergency centers and key hubs. Siemens is preparing to send USFilter water treatment equipment to the Gulf Coast areas and heart monitors and imaging equipment to Houston area hospitals. In addition, the company has announced a 100% matching donation program for its 70, 000 U.S. employees. Donations will be made to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund...

"All Nalco Manufacturing Facilities Operating, Other Impacts from Hurricane Katrina Remain Undetermined" -- NAPERVILLE, IL, Sept. 1, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- While acknowledging the disaster likely would cost it millions, Nalco Holding Company today announced that the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on its overall operations remain difficult to assess, even though manufacturing operations sustained no major damage. Nalco plants in Scott and Port Allen, La. resumed operations with minimal disruption. Yesterday, power was restored to the Company's largest manufacturing facility in Garyville, La. Many operations at the plant are beginning to ramp up today, but Nalco expects to face restrictions from raw material, distribution and employee availability....

"Tyco and its Employees Lend Vital Support to Hurricane Victims" -- PRINCETON, NJ, Sept. 1, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- To help support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Tyco International Inc. today announced a corporate cash donation of $500,000 to the American Red Cross. In addition, the company is providing a 100% match for qualified employee contributions through its U.S. Employee Matching Gift Program. These cash donations will be used to provide food, water, shelter, emergency first aid, disaster welfare information and bulk distribution of emergency relief items in the areas most affected...

"Washington Group International Aids Hurricane Relief Effort" -- BOISE, ID, Sept. 1, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Washington Group International, a leading international engineering, construction, and management-solutions company, has joined the effort to fund cleanup, reconstruction, and relief efforts for damage caused by a hurricane that recently struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. The company and the Washington Group Foundation today are making a combined immediate donation of $500,000 to the American Red Cross in support of relief work in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, employee donations to the Red Cross made through the foundation's hurricane relief fund will be matched dollar for dollar...

"Flowserve Corporation Pledges Funds for Hurricane Relief" -- DALLAS, Aug. 31, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Flowserve Corp. announced that on behalf of its 14,000 employees around the world it will donate up to $150,000 to the American Red Cross' Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Flowserve selected the American Red Cross because of the immediate positive impact the organization can have on the victims and because of their advanced distribution system...

"R.W. Beck Assists With Hurricane Katrina Efforts in Florida" -- ORLANDO, FL, Aug. 31, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Management consulting and engineering firm R. W. Beck, Inc. has been given the task of managing cleanup efforts to alleviate the impact of Hurricane Katrina on five communities in South Florida. The R. W. Beck debris removal teams are in place for: Monroe County, which encompasses the Florida Keys, as well as the municipalities of Cooper City, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Plantation -- all in South Florida...

"Hercules Pulp and Paper Division North American Supply Chain Disrupted Due to Hurricane Katrina" -- WILMINGTON, DE, Aug. 31, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Pulp and Paper Division of Hercules Incorporated (NYSE:HPC) announced that Hurricane Katrina has affected the company's Hattiesburg, MS, manufacturing operations and may impact other product shipments and raw material sourcing. The full extent of the impact of Katrina on the Hercules supply chain continues to be investigated. Hercules is committed to working with its customers to minimize the impact on them until normal operations can be resumed...

"Concerned Citizens Can Help Those Struck by Hurricane Katrina by Donating Water Purification Tablets" JACKSON, WI, Aug. 31, 2005 -- (PRNewswire) -- Wisconsin Pharmacal, the world's leading producer of iodine-based water purification tablets, will be partnering with concerned citizens to donate bottles of Potable Aqua(R) water purification tablets to relief organizations aiding those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The company, recognizing the critical nature of having drinkable water available following a disaster, has constructed a special Emergency Relief Web site at www.potableaqua.com where organizations or individuals can donate bottles of Potable Aqua at a significantly reduced cost. Wisconsin Pharmacal will then match 20% of the donated total product at no cost...

"Pioneer Announces That Its Louisiana Chlor-Alkali Plant Will Resume Production" -- HOUSTON, Aug. 31, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Pioneer Companies Inc. reported that the chlor-alkali plant at St. Gabriel, Louisiana that is owned and operated by its subsidiary, Pioneer Americas LLC, was spared any significant damage from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The plant, which is on the Mississippi River a few miles south of Baton Rouge, was shut down on August 28 in anticipation of the storm...

"Michigan Food and Beverage Association Members Create Coalition For Hurricane Relief" -- WARREN, MI, Aug. 31, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- The Michigan Food and Beverage Association (MFBA) has created an Emergency Response Coalition consisting of members who wish to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, as well as future disasters...

"PepsiAmericas Pledges $500,000 in Funding and Drinking Water for Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts" -- MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 31, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- PepsiAmericas, Inc. announced that it will contribute $500,000 in financial aid and water to communities that fell victim to Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, the beverage bottler has pledged financial support to assist employees as the extent of their need becomes known...

"International Truck and Engine Offers Dump Trucks, Water Tankers and Logistics Center to Aid Hurricane Katrina Victims" -- WARRENVILLE, IL, Aug. 31, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- International Truck and Engine Corporation has offered use of a 7,750-square-foot facility in Shreveport, La., to serve as a logistics center or staging area to help distribute emergency relief supplies to victims of the devastating hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast Monday...

"Universal Food and Beverage Company to Assist with Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts" -- ST. CHARLES, IL, Aug. 31, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Universal Food and Beverage Company announces that Federal and State agencies have contacted them for assistance in the management and coordination of the supply and distribution efforts. A key member of Universal's management team has been temporarily dispatched to the Atlanta Region. This effort is in response to the catastrophe brought forth by Hurricane Katrina...

"Culligan Donates Safe Drinking Water to Victims of Hurricane Katrina" -- NORTHBROOK, IL, Aug. 30, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Amid reports that many people are without potable water, Culligan International Company is donating five semi-trailer trucks full of safe, bottled drinking water to Gulf Coast residents in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Culligan is providing shipments of bottled water to residents of Mobile, Ala., Biloxi, Miss. and Gulfport, Miss. through the non-profit organization Convoy of Hope, which is dedicated to supplying relief to disaster victims around the world...

"Anheuser-Busch Increases Water Donations to 825,000 Cans to Aid Hurricane Katrina Victims" -- ST. LOUIS, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to requests from relief agencies following the tremendous damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have now shipped more than 825,000 cans of safe drinking water to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Separately, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation announced today that it is donating $250,000 to Red Cross relief efforts along the Gulf Coast...

"American Rivers Statement on Hurricane Katrina's Impact in New Orleans" -- WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 30, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- American Rivers President Rebecca R. Wodder released the following statement today on the trail of destruction that Hurricane Katrina has left along the Gulf Coast: "Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the brave emergency personnel that are coming to their aid. We have long feared this day was coming. Decades of severe environmental degradation along the Mississippi River have left the region progressively more vulnerable to the winds and floods that accompany a storm like Katrina...

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