January 13, 2006
Reported by the Associated Press
In the first attempt to calculate just how much devastation Hurricanes Rita and Katrina caused in dollar terms, the Louisiana Recovery Authority says damages, relief costs and economic losses from the two storms will total in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Andy Kopplin, the LRA executive director, says the information shows that the hurricanes were the most expensive natural disaster in American history.
The state is likely to use the new figures in its quest for more money from Congress to deal with the devastation.
So far, though, a total sum for how much the storms have cost, and will cost, Louisiana has not been calculated and it will take much more data and time before that can be accomplished.
The LRA says the biggest losses will be damage to homes, roads, levees, businesses, hospitals, schools and public buildings. The agency estimated those costs will be between $75 billion and $100 billion dollars.
The other major hit will be to the state's economy.
The LRA says between 2005 and 2009, it estimates that the state's gross state product will be reduced by between $50 billion and $70 billion.