Thousands Still Searching for Kin in New Orleans


For thousands of people in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina has not yet ended. While the politicians in Washington worry about whether to fully fund the restoration of the levee system, these people are still looking for family members. These two posts were put up on Katrina Survivor in the past week:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 Alphonse is in his 70’s and is an INSULIN DEPENDENT DIABETIC. Last seen going to Super Dome from Convention Center near bridge. Told his wife and son he would not go any further. They thought he might have gone back home Please Contact Cindy Smith with the City of Sulphur Springs, TX if you have any information…

Friday, December 9, 2005 My brother and I are trying to locate our mother Julia Mae Reddicks. We are still located in Texas and desperately want to know if she is okay and would like to talk to her. Please, if you know of her whereabouts have her call collect if neccessary to 281-412-5183.

How many are, like these two, still missing? Public and private sources venture many numbers. According to Louisiana’s Department of Health and Human Services, as of December 13, 1,094 bodies had been found.

The DHH reports of FEMA’s ghoulishly named Call Center for Relatives of the Perished that “as of Dec. 8, statistics showed the Center had received 10,870 calls to report a missing or deceased person. Staff at the Center has succeeded at locating 5,371 people.”

The National Center for Missing Adults has a list of about 4,500 names of Katrina missing from Louisiana and Mississippi both.

On November 21, USA Today said, quoting the Center, that 6,644 people were missing. While some may simply have lost touch with family members in the haphazard evacuation, “those counting the victims are particularly concerned about an estimated 1,300 unaccounted-for people who lived in areas that were heavily damaged by Katrina, or who were disabled at the time the storm hit.” If all those were presumed dead, that would double the official death toll from the storm.

And Tina Sussman, writing for Newsday, said that as of December 4, 1,300 children were missing. That was according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which keeps pictures of these missing children online.