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Two-thirds of Katrina donations disbursed-WPost

By Staff
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WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) Six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, two-thirds of the 3 billion dollars raised by charities to aid storm victims has already been disbursed, The Washington Post reported today.

According to a survey by the newspaper, more than 2 billon dollars of the record sums raised by private nonprofit organizations went to help Katrina victims with immediate needs, such as cash, food, temporary shelter and medical care.

That leaves less than 1 billion dollars to help hundreds of thousands of storm victims cover long-term needs ranging from rebuilding homes, job training and mental health counseling, the newspaper said.

The Post said charities were bracing for hard decisions as they spend what is left -- funds charities and federal officials say will have to be stretched over years.

''The line between what the government pays for and what charities will cover is blurred,'' the newspaper said.

Even though many Gulf Coast residents are eligible for federal assistance for some housing costs, many others will not qualify and charities predict they will have to pick up the slack, the newspaper said.

The August 29 storm killed 1,200 people and destroyed about 300,000 homes.

The Post said its survey found The American Red Cross had given out 84 per cent of the 2 billion dollars in donations it collected for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Fifty cents out of each donated dollars was disbursed in cash to victims, the newspaper said.

The survey found that 6 percent of contributions came in the form of supplies, contributed mostly by corporations.

Fifty-six per cent of the remaining donations are controlled by faith-based organizations, according to the newspaper.

REUTERS CH SP1204

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