Qatar Really Wants You To Know How Much It Gave For Katrina Relief

ICYMI, Qatar’s spent $100 million rebuilding education, housing and health care in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

WASHINGTON — Here are some things you may know about Qatar: It’s very, very small and it’s very, very wealthy. With a GDP estimated at upwards of $320 billion, Qatar — which controls 13 percent of global liquefied natural gas reserves — is the richest country per capita in the world.

You’ve likely also heard that the tiny statelet in the Gulf is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is generating controversy because of concerns about abusive working conditions for the immigrant labor force building its infrastructure. If you’re interested in foreign affairs, you may know Qatar is home to the U.S. Air Force’s command center for Middle East operations, or that it’s played a key role in questioning old-school authoritarianism and supporting political Islam in the region.

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That’s all important. But for this week, Qatar would like Americans to treat these facts as footnotes and focus instead on its generosity toward the U.S. during a time of national crisis 10 years ago.

In a ceremony at the New Orleans Ritz Carlton on Thursday that attracted heavyweights like New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and former Sen. Mary Landrieu, Qatari Ambassador Mohammed Jaham al Kuwari held “a celebration of recovery.” The event, co-hosted by Habitat for Humanity and an array of corporate sponsors like ExxonMobil and Raytheon, commemorated Qatar’s efforts to help the parts of the U.S. that were battered by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Kuwari this month also launched a book documenting those efforts. Over more than 200 glossy pages, it features statistics and personal stories from Katrina victims who have benefited from Qatar’s $100 million gift.

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