Saturday, December 22, 2007
Brad And Angelina Put Focus On Katrina Victims In New Orleans
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt used their star power Saturday to help The Children's Health Fund focus attention on the more than 46,000 children still displaced 2 1/2 years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed their homes. Angelina said her work as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees prompted her to get involved with the CHF's effort. "This is the largest displacement of children in my own country so I want to learn as much as possible," she said at a news conference.
A report issued earlier this month by the CHF found that 46,000 to 64,000 children affected by the hurricanes were still at risk for a host of medical, mental health and educational problems complicated by a lack of support services. "Many families are distressed about how long and difficult the recovery has been," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, president of the CHF and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, which conducted the study.
Angelina said that in her travels she has seen many children who feel defeated. The difference here, she said, is that children "are feisty, fun and full of pride. They know where they're going and what they're going to do. It's that kind of spirit that will help everyone get through this."
Brad and Angie have made New Orleans their home since the hurricanes and have been working to help the area recover. "We're focused on community building," Brad said. "It's not just about homes. It's not just about building. It's about the lack of focus on education and health care too." Brad has pledged more than $5 million to Make it Right, a project to rebuild 150 homes in the Katrina-devastated Lower 9th Ward, one of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods.