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7 places forever changed by eco-disasters

New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina

Photo: Bob McMillan/FEMA

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New Orleans

The United States received its first tangible taste of the effects of climate change in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The average elevation of the city of New Orleans is about one to two feet below sea level, and the strain Katrina inflicted on the flood walls and levees was too much. When the levees breached, 85 percent of New Orleans became engulfed in water, nearly 2,000 people died and more than 1 million were forced to flee.