BATON ROUGE– Individuals who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina are urged to contact the Find Family National Call to determine if they are being classified as a missing person. In addition, family members, friends and relatives who once called the Center to report a missing person, and who have since found that person, are also asked to call the Center.
The Find Family Call Center, located in Baton Rouge, has a toll-free phone number, 1-866-326-9393. In addition, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has posted a list of the missing on its Web site, www.katrinamissing.dhh.louisiana.gov.
To date, the Find Family National Call Center has received reports of more than 11,500 Louisiana residents who were thought to be missing or deceased following the hurricane. But, the most recent statistics provided by the Find Family National Call Center show that most people, 8,834, have been found alive.
Today, the official count of the ‘missing’ stands at 1,902. This is a reduction from 2,000 missing people reported last week.
“The reduction in the number of missing is almost entirely attributable to staffers at the Center who work throughout the day trying to locate missing people,” said Dr. Louis Cataldie, Louisiana state medical examiner.
In all cases this week, those who were ‘found’ by Call Center staff were not actually missing. Instead, they had already reunited with their loved ones, but had not notified the Center of the reunion.
“Unfortunately, people who called us many months ago do not think to call us again when they find their loved ones,” he said. “The result is our staff spends hundreds of hours looking for people who are already found, instead of being able to focus on those who are truly missing.”
Mike Edmonson, captain with the Louisiana State Police, says concerned citizens who once reported a person as missing can easily access the Katrina Missing Web site to see if a loved ones name is listed.
“If that person’s name is on the list, and you know where he or she is located, we urge you to call us at the Find Family Center,” Edmonson said.