Video: Where have Katrina donations gone?

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updated 1/30/2006 7:47:58 PM ET 2006-01-31T00:47:58

Monday in New Orleans, the Red Cross delivered food to devastated neighborhoods. Volunteers still are serving 14,000 meals a day.

Meanwhile, in Biloxi, Miss., storm victims stopped by a Salvation Army center for free supplies, ranging from infant formula to clothing.

So far, the Red Cross and five other charities that received the largest amount of donations have spent 71 percent of the money collected.

The largest singleexpense? Financial aid for 1.3 million families, who received about $1,000 each.

"All that money went to the immediate emergency needs of the people," says Joe Becker, senior vice president of preparedness and response with the Red Cross.

Charities involved in rebuilding have been slower to spend funds. Habitat for Humanity says it has 60 homes completed or under construction.

"We will continue to build as many homes as we can raise the funds for," says Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford. "We are planning to build at least 1,000 homes in the next 18 months."

The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund says its money will go to colleges and universities devastated by the storm, faith-based groups and foundations dedicated to rebuilding the three states. But so far little money from that fund has actually been disbursed because officials say they're waiting for requests.   

With all the devastation, and so little visible progress, some argue that Americans who gave so generously should have gotten more for their money by now.

"June 1st is hurricane season," says Richard Walden, the president of Operation USA, a charitable group. "Private charities have got to do a better job and a faster job."

Still, the reality is that the amount of money private charities have to spend on rebuilding — at best a few hundred million dollars — is a drop in the ocean. The federal government has designated $85 billion, and many believe even that won't be enough.

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