"We have one huge fear," said James Hoyle, superintendent of the devastated Plaquemines Parish School District, located some 10 miles down the Mississippi River from New Orleans. "We're afraid the rest of the country will forget us." Six of his nine schools were lost to Hurricane Katrina, which hammered the U.S. Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005.

With earthquakes, mine disasters, and congressional scandals dominating the news of a young 2006, that fear, at press time, seemed completely well founded. Not until early January did funding at last start to trickle from the U.S.

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