Willie Nelson's Farm Aid charity is coming to the aid of landowners hit hard by Hurricane Katrina by offering emergency assistance.

The organisation has activated its Family Farm Disaster Fund to encourage donations to provide rural families the help they need to recover from the storm and to continue farming.

Nelson says, "This is a moment when each of us can take stock of what we can offer to everyone affected by this catastrophe, and Farm Aid is in a position to act for farm families.

"Crop and livestock losses will be massive. Many farm buildings were destroyed in the storm and ensuing flooding. A disaster of this magnitude can be a breaking point for many southern family farms."

In addition to funds provided by donors throughout America, Farm Aid has sent an initial $30,000 (GBP16,600) to several of its partner family farm organisations in the Gulf Coast region.