Friday, March 03, 2006

"Anything we find now will just be tendons and bones."

It’s now March, and the final sweep begins – or, should I say, the sweep finally begins:

A full six months after Hurricane Katrina, officials renewed the search for bodies Thursday, moving slowly through ravaged neighborhoods with cadaver dogs in hopes of locating 300 to 400 people still unaccounted for.

The search teams targeted 160 houses and 122 debris piles at or near addresses of people still missing.
300 to 400 of the missing were “in the system,” meaning some evidence of their existence should have surfaced by now, like computer records of prescriptions being filled. It is assumed that they would have gotten their prescriptions filled because they need them to survive.

Of the 1,800 people still missing, these are the ones feared dead. Although so many are still missing, the 17-million-dollar Victim Identification Center in Carville was shut down in February and DMORT ceased primary operations in the state March 1. Responsibility for anymore bodies found in New Orleans has been passed to Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard, who is using Rhodes Funeral Home on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard as a temporary morgue.

They are starting in the Ninth Ward, but will also be checking Lakeview near the breach.

I have to believe that they are not going to find 400 bodies in the debris, if only to protect my sanity. The Find Family National Call Center has been excellent at finding the missing still alive, reducing the number from 11,000 originally missing to the less than 2,000 today. So, when they say that they should have found these 300 to 400, I get a little worried.

My sanity might be in peril whether they find the bodies during this search or not, given these statements by the state medical examiner Louis Cataldie:
Cataldie said it is possible some of those listed as missing were washed into the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Pontchartrain after the Aug. 29 storm.

"We're going to do every thing we can to find every body," he said. "But some folks may never be found."
Some of these folks may never be found. Sanity is in short supply.

2 comments:

Sophmom said...

I find it hard to believe that so little has been said about the probability that some folks were, literally, washed away. How could that possibly not have happened? I don't understand why the missing are not mentioned every time the dead are. *sigh* Great post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for noting the great work of the "Find Family National Call Center." I have a nurse friend who worked during and after the hurricane. After 7 solid days of work when she was finally able to leave the hospital, she walked out with no idea where her husband or girls were. The call center helped her locate the girls in Utah. What a wonderful service these folks have performed