Monday, November 14, 2005

Waking the Dead

Today on National Public Radio, the issue of the missing of finally broke into the national media spotlight.

In a piece titled Return to New Orleans in the story titled Return to New Orleans on the Morning Edition story list, correspondent Cokie Roberts and host Micheal Iskeep had this exchange.

Roberts: "There's still 4,000 people missing. It's an incredible number two months later..."

Inskeep (interrupting): "That's more people than died in the World Trade Center."

Roberts is a native of and the child of retired U.S. Rep. Lindy Boggs and Hale Boggs, the congressman who died in an aircrash in Alaska decades ago.

This is the first indication of the scope of the missing, and the link to the size of the 9-11 disaster, that I've seen in two-and-one-half months of reading every line I can find about Katrina and New Orleans.

As reported here earlier, respected groups such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children continue to report up to 7,000 missing post-Katrina. Based on the Mississippi experience with the state's official missing list, as many as 14% of those may be dead.

That would be at least 1,300 unreported deaths.

Roberts did not indicate the source of her figure of 4,000 missing in the NPR piece.

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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