After more than six months of solid detective work and more than 13,000 reports of people missing after Hurricane Katrina, staff at the Family Assistance Center celebrated an important milestone Tuesday: fewer than 1,000 people remain missing.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 1,003 people still listed as “missing.” By the end of the day, that number had dropped to 987. The Family Assistance Center, formerly called the Find Family National Call Center, has tracked calls from family members and loved ones who needed to report someone missing in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"This is a significant achievement, especially considering that we have had more than 11,000 missing persons reports to follow up on," said Dr. Louis Cataldie, state medical examiner and incident commander for the Family Assistance Center. "Fortunately, most of them were found alive and simply had not made contact with their loved ones, who then called to report them missing. Through hard work by the staff, we have been able to locate most of the people initially listed as missing. Still, one person missing is too many, and we will continue with the same intensity that has brought us to this point.”
According to today’s statistics, of 11,626 calls, there have been 9,804 people found alive and 835 confirmed deceased.
Henry Yennie, deputy director of the Family Assistance Center, said he expects the list of missing will be further reduced in the coming weeks, as the staff continues to successfully locate people around the country.
“Unfortunately, we know that there are some people reported missing who may never be found,” Yennie said. “However, our staff continues to work the Victim Identification Packets every day, and cases are kept active until that person is located. We hope that through our efforts, we will continue locating more people.”
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. This list is regularly updated as new information from the Family Assistance Center becomes available. A list is also available at www.familyassist.us.
Individuals who wish to report someone missing as well as those who initially reported someone missing and since have located that person are strongly encouraged to contact the Family Assistance Center at 1-866-326-9393.