United Nations, 1 September 2005 -- The United Nations' top humanitarian relief official has described Hurricane Katrina as one of the most destructive natural disasters in human history.
Jan Egeland told reporters that in terms of purely economic costs -- homes and businesses destroyed, people displaced -- the hurricane was worse than the December 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia.
But Egeland said good preparations and quick evacuations of residents by U.S. authorities meant that far fewer people have been killed along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast than the estimated 180,000 who died in the tsunami.
The casualty toll from the hurricane is not yet clear, but it is believed to be in the hundreds, or possibly thousands, of people.
Egeland said the United Nations is ready to assist in U.S. recovery efforts, but added that no request has yet been made by American authorities.
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