New technology demonstrates extreme lack of progress in Gulf Coast reconstruction

May 7, 2010

Technology has been a driving force as of late, to document a variety of things related to human rights from political violence in Kenya, to the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, caused flooding and widespread damage to the Gulf Coast. More than 1,800 people from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama died in the storm. Approximately 1,000,000 people were displaced from the Gulf Coast region.

Nearly five years later, in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast, there is a continued lack of access to housing and health care, and issues related to the criminal justice system persist. Amnesty International is committed to raising awareness about the slow progress in housing recovery, as well as the demolition of public housing, and the problems of blight and homelessness in the city of New Orleans. Recent estimates of homelessness in New Orleans have ranged from nearly 10,000 individuals and families to 12,000. If so many are still homeless, where are houses being rebuilt, and who can actually afford them?

Now, thanks to technology, you can track the progress of Gulf Coast reconstruction with the Google Earth layer created by Amnesty International’s Science for Human Rights (SHR) Program. These geo-referenced photos highlight the extent of the destruction and the lack of progress in rebuilding in the lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana. You can download the kml file of the lower Ninth Ward and use geo-visualization software, such as Google Earth, to see for yourself the full extent of the damage and the amount of work that remains to be done.

AI’s Rebuilding the Gulf project has been active in working to protect human rights in the Gulf Coast by focusing on promoting a broader range of human rights concerns that arise in disaster affected areas. Learn more about our work in the Gulf Coast and take action to reform federal disaster legislation to ensure that the human rights of those impacted by future disasters are protected.



Sung In Marshall contributed to this post.