Dead still found in New Orleans

2006-03-07 07:35

New Orleans - Six months after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, bodies are still being pulled out of wrecked and rotting homes.

Firefighters in hard hats with cadaver dogs found the latest victim on Monday in a house that had been inspected months ago, though clearly not well enough.

It was the second corpse found since recovery efforts resumed last Friday, said Steve Glynn, chief of special operations for the New Orleans Fire Department.

The race and gender of the body located on Monday found in the black Lower Ninth Ward, could not be determined, Glynn said.

"I don't want to be too graphic," Glynn said. "But it was confusing at first."

The official door-to-door search of New Orleans ended October 3 with a death toll of 972. Since then, at least 131 more bodies have been found. Some by officials, some by horror-struck friends and family members, some even by insurance inspectors.

Bodies washed away by storm

Firefighters continued to search homes for a few more months, but had to stop in December when their funding ran out.

Meanwhile, state officials continued to slog through the thousands of reports of missing people. They have now cut the list down to 1 900 people who disappeared amid the chaos of a mass evacuation following the vast August 29 storm.

They believe about 400 of those are probably dead. Many of those bodies could have been washed away in the storm, but officials have sent a list of names and last known addresses to recovery workers in hopes of recovering as many bodies as possible.

Searchers have said they expect to find many of the dead in the Ninth Ward, a poor neighbourhood of 5 600 homes, bounded by the Industrial Canal, the Mississippi River, swampland and the hurricane-ravaged suburb of St Bernard Parish.

The coroner, meanwhile, continues to struggle to identify the remains of those pulled from the wreckage. Of the 910 people examined at a special morgue at Carville, 86 storm victims remain unidentified.

The coroner has also been unable to locate the families of 74 people whose bodies are ready to be released for burial, said Melissa Walker, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

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