My daughter and I just returned from a trip to NOLA (New Orleans, LA) with our church's Youth Missions Team. Two years after Hurricane Katrina hit the area, much of the city is still an uninhabitable wasteland. Recovery from Katrina has been frustratingly and appallingly slow. About 60% of all former NOLA residents still have not returned, two years after the storm, largely because there is almost nothing to return to - the destruction was so complete that most of the things that build and sustain a sense of 'community' were completely stripped away from large areas of the city. Whole neighborhoods were submerged, churches and schools were swallowed, businesses (and therefore jobs) vanished, land/property records were destroyed, landmarks disappeared. Ours was just one of thousands of volunteer teams that have gone into NOLA since the flooding. We participated in rebuilding projects, prayed with and for local area residents, encouraged those close to giving up on any hope of ever seeing 'normal' again, ran a VBS for inner city kids, delivered groceries, and a host of other odds and ends. For anyone interested in the trip, or the need, or seeing what you might possibly be able to do to help, I posted a 'Live Update Blog' HERE - I took pictures with my cell phone camera, texted and sent them to my husband, who uploaded them daily to the blog. After I returned home, I added more detailed personal notes about what we did, saw, and experienced. You can forward to those more recent blog entries from the link I gave, if you are interested. Please understand that I am not posting this thread to add fuel to the debate about 'Who should have done what when.' I sincerely hope that it just encourages someone reading to go or to give. There are groups (still, two years later) going into the Gulf Coast Region for reconstruction projects on a weekly basis. I encourage you that, no matter how little you THINK you have to give (in time, effort, ability, finances), you have enough to make a world of difference to someone. FYI, our youngest team member (my daughter) just turned 12 today (Happy Bday, Squiggles!) I realize this post is mainly for our US readers (although it would be appreciated, I don't think it reasonable to expect any UK MAPpers to fly to NOLA with a hammer). I'm sure folks in other parts of the world (unfortunately) have more than enough disasters of their own with which to deal.