The Children of Hurricane Katrina
"As of noon Wednesday, the latest total available, 2,709 children had been reported either missing or found without caregivers, with 701 of their cases resolved."
CNN article "First Lady Urges Families to Prepare for Disasters,"
Friday, September 16, 2005; Posted: 1:16 p.m. EDT (17:16 GMT)
Look at the numbers: 2,709 children missing or alone, with 701 resolved, means 2,008 children are still missing or alone. Two thousand and eight! And that's just as of Wednesday. This number has gone up each day as more people realize that the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the place to submit names. The website is missingkids.com, but it's often overwhelmed and hard to log on to.
Can you imagine the fear of the children who are alone?
Can you imagine the panic of the parents whose children are missing?
How do you begin reuniting your family if members could have been evacuated to anywhere in the entire United States? And evacuation to anywhere would be the good news. What if your child wasn't evacuated? And how would you know which occurred?
I know where my daughter is, and still my heart freezes at the very thought of imagining how I'd feel if I was one of these hurricane families with missing children, the thought of not knowing where Brigid is, of imagining all the terrible things that could have happened to her, that might still be happening to her.
Every evening Ron and I flip channels between Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, watching for the latest on Hurricane Katrina. Occasionally one of the channels will run a story about these missing kids. The media seems to enjoy showing a reunion or two, and I admit I love seeing these happy endings. But after the happy ending fades, the children still missing haunt me.
But last night Ron mentioned something that really resonated.
Why don't these twenty-four-hour news channels devote one hour every evening — just one measly hour out of their twenty-four hours — and do nothing but post pictures and verbal descriptions of these missing kids?
And then we wondered: Why don't all the major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX — join forces to make a coordinated effort, just like they did for the 9/11 and hurricane telethons, and devote an entire Friday night to these missing kids?
Wouldn't you want all the help you could get to find your child?