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Obama Set To Mark Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

Sunday marks five years to the day the U.S. gulf coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in the country’s history.

New Orleans was of course the hardest hit. 80 per cent of the city was flooded and some 1, 800 people lost their lives.

It also displaced thousands of others, many have not returned.

Compounded by the recent oil spill in the region that saw 200 million gallons of crude explode into the ocean and the area is struggling to recover.  

U.S. President Barack Obama will end his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard and head down to the gulf coast Sunday to speak at Xavier University.

The predominately black, Catholic school was nearly destroyed by the storm’s wrath.

On Saturday, many Louisiana residents held a symbolic burial ceremony for the victims. In Chalmette, people were invited to write “goodbye Katrina” messages, which were placed in a coffin and buried.

Katrina hit the coast with winds raging of up to 201km/h. More than a million people were displaced and scattered across the U.S.

The city of New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation order, and hundreds of thousands of people fled.

The year following Katrina, the population of New Orleans was only half its pre-hurricane level of 1.3 million.

By June 2009, the population had rebounded to 90 per cent of that figure.

With files from the Associated Press

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