The internet became an important outlet for relief donations in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, with 13 million Americans, or 9% of internet users, goingonline to give money in aid of victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
In addition to serving as a conduit for donations, the internet was an important source of news, information, and dialogue about the disasters. Half (50%) of all online Americans turned to the internet for news and information about the Gulf Coast hurricanes and their aftermath. One quarter (24%) shared emails or instant messages about the storms; 9% used the internet to check on someone's safety.
At the same time, a notable number of Americans used the internet to move beyond traditional institutions as they looked for news about the hurricanes and information about relief efforts. Some 17% of those who got news about the disasters read blogs to get details and insights into the impact of the hurricanes on affected communities. Some 5% of internet users – or 7 million people – went online to set up their own relief efforts. And 4% posted their own material such as comments, links, and pictures related to the hurricanes on online blogs, bulletin boards or chat rooms.
Read the full report 13 Million Americans Made Donations Online After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.