#Katrina10: The 10th anniversary commemoration of Hurricane Katrina, how you can help

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The Louisiana Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.


LOUISIANA — When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, it wound up being one of the most destructive disasters in U.S. history.

At least 1 million people in the Gulf region were displaced and more than 1,800 people were killed. A decade later, Louisiana is still finding damage. Some wonder if the Gulf Coast will ever completely recover.

“This was a knockout punch,” said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, national spokesman for the Salvation Army. “This was not something that only affected the Gulf Coast, this affected the entire country.”

Charities and NGOs like the Salvation Army swarmed Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. But as time passed, they discovered this was more than a simple relief effort. This disaster required a long-term commitment to resolving socioeconomic issues for the poor and working people of the Gulf Coast.

Christine Petrie of the International Rescue Committee was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after the levees collapsed in New Orleans. Petrie says the IRC found out it would take a coordinated effort to provide resettlement for the victims.

“When we looked at the issue of displacement, we saw a lot of comparisons between what people needed and what we typically provide to refugees,” said Petrie.

Organizations like the IRC, when assisting with resettlement, provide tools to stabilize individuals and families with housing, education, employment skills and counseling services. These are key to the Gulf Coast’s continued recovery and an important avenue for CNN’s viewers and readers to help.

“The best ways viewers can help is to continue to support those local communities,” said Busroe.

Although the Gulf has shown its resilience in these last 10 years, it is important to remember the emotional scars of this disaster remain.

“We believe one of the main roles that the Salvation Army has in a disaster is emotional and spiritual care,” Busroe said. “We see that as a major part of our work.”

The city of New Orleans has set up remote counseling locations and a crisis line to help residents who are still experiencing the psychological effects of the disaster.

Here are some charitable organizations that are still trying to help with unmet needs on the Gulf Coast. You can help them through volunteering or a monetary gift.

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