Pain, Fury Still Rage a Year After Katrina

A year after it hammered the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina's devastation persists in the ongoing loss, frustration and anger of those hardest hit by the storm, with widespread views of waste and mismanagement in the recovery effort, significant personal stress and broad fears of what another hurricane could do.

Across the 91 counties in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama designated as Katrina disaster areas, 57 percent of residents say most of the approximately $44 billion the federal government has spent on hurricane recovery in the last year has been wasted -- and that rises to 66 percent in New Orleans, an ABC News poll finds.

Other assessments of the government's relief efforts are as bad or worse. More than eight in 10 in New Orleans, and six in 10 across the Gulf Coast, are frustrated with the process; nearly two-thirds in New Orleans, and nearly half across the region, are angry about it. Seventy percent in New Orleans lack confidence in the government's ability to handle another major disaster. And most blacks in the region and across the country think race has affected recovery efforts.

Rating the Federal Government
  National Gulf New Orleans
Rate the government's recovery efforts negatively   66%   59%   84%
Recovery money mostly wasted   60   57   66

All told, 84 percent in New Orleans, and nearly six in 10 in the Gulf Coast more broadly, give negative ratings to the way the government has dealt with Katrina recovery. And many residents (six in 10 in New Orleans, and four in 10 across the disaster counties) say the experience has weakened their overall trust in government to help people in need.

Where government has struggled, though, neighbors and strangers have pulled together. Both in New Orleans and across the region, about two-thirds say the hurricane and its aftermath strengthened their trust in their fellow man -- if not in their government -- to lend a hand.

Personal Losses

Still, personal losses -- material and psychological alike -- are lasting. Nearly three-quarters of New Orleans residents say they have not yet personally recovered from Katrina, six in 10 report long-term damage to their emotional well-being and about as many say the possibility of another hurricane is creating stress and anxiety in their lives.

Such reactions are less widely held, but still prevalent, among the 5.5 million residents of all 91 disaster counties (areas designated by FEMA as eligible for individual assistance aid from the federal government). Four in 10 report long-term emotional damage, as many are stressed about the possibility of another storm and one in three say they have not yet personally recovered from Katrina.

Long-Term Negative Impact of Katrina
  Gulf New Orleans
Personal finances   46%   62%
Emotional well-being   40   61
Personal health   19   40

Four in 10 in New Orleans also report long-term damage to their personal health as a result of the hurricane; about two in 10 across the region say the same, a major public health impact. Six in 10 in New Orleans and nearly half across the regional report long-term damage to their personal finances; one factor is that six in 10 suffered property losses for which they were not fully insured.

More than one in 10 regionally, and more than one in three in New Orleans, had a close friend or family member killed as a result of the storm. (The official death toll in Louisiana is 1,464.)

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