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One Year Later, Gulf Coast Continues to Recover From Katrina

With the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching on August 29, the effects of the devastating storm are still being felt in the southeastern United States. While much attention has been focused on the recovery in the city of New Orleans, many rural areas are struggling to rebound as well.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have deemed Katrina to have been the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

The storm came ashore in the early hours of August 29, 2005 with sustained winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour. Those winds - along with heavy rains and high water - killed more than 1,400 people and did more than $200 billion in damage.

A year later the effects are still evident, and clean up continues.

In the small town of Waveland, Mississippi, city buildings and infrastructure were destroyed along with private homes. The U.S. government has pledged $175 million to rebuild the town, with the city expected to provide 10 percent of that cost. Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo says that will be a daunting task. "There's no way we can come [up] with $17.5 million, or even half that," says Longo.

Thousands were left homeless in the wake of the storm, and housing for those people remains a significant problem. In Pascagoula, Mississippi, 10,000 people - almost half the city's population - live in government-supplied trailers.

In the nearby fishing town of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, Mayor Stan Wright says it has proved difficult to bring back the city's work force because there is no place to live. "There's no permanent property available, and what rental property there is has a [long] waiting list.”

Katrina was devastating on the city's fishing industry, sinking boats or leaving them permanently beached.

But there are signs of an economic rebound for the region. In the Biloxi-Gulfport area of Mississippi, where 29,000 jobs were lost after Katrina, at least one luxury casino has reopened and hired back many of its former employees.

Developers hope the casinos will draw back tourists, whose dollars could help the rest of the region recover.