BATON ROUGE- Statistics provided by the Find Family National Call Center continue to show that thousands of Louisiana citizens have been reported missing since Hurricanes Katrina.
Following Katrina, almost 11,500 people contacted the center to report a missing or possibly deceased loved one. Each of these callers completed a comprehensive Victim Identification Packet.
To date, work by the Center’s staff has resulted in 7,420 missing people being found alive. Another 785 people have been identified as having died due to the storm. This leaves more than 3,200 people who are still considered missing.
Dr. Louis Cataldie, state incident commander for the center, says his staff believes many of the missing have been found alive by loved ones, but the center has no record of this reunification.
“We are asking family members and friends who once called to report a missing loved one and have since found that person to call us back and give us an update,” Cataldie said.
In addition, the Louisiana Department of Health has posted a list of the missing on its Web site, www.katrinamissing.dhh.louisiana.gov in an effort to help reunite families. LDH has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to operate the Find Family Center.
“Concerned citizens who once reported a person as missing should access this site and see if the name of their loved ones is listed. If so, and if that person’s whereabouts are now known, we’d appreciate a call to the center so the name can be removed from the list,” Cataldie said.
He said his staff then can concentrate their efforts on looking for those who remain missing and not lose valuable time searching for people who have already been found.
The list of the missing can be found here.
The telephone number for the Find Family National Call Center is 1-866-326-9393. The center includes staff members from the state, mental health professionals and FEMA’s National Disaster Medical System and Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team branches.