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No way at this point to estimate how many children have been severed from families, but early figures suggest thousands of children are looking for parents and parents are looking for children displaced in the chaos caused by Hurricane Katrina. Kids have been found wandering alone in search of lost adults. In last 2 days alone, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 500 new cases of parents looking for children or vice versa, bringing the number of reports in its Hurricane Katrina database to 1,500 and only 258 have been successfully resolved. Some parents said when they were evacuating from the city, they put their children on earlier buses in the mistaken belief that when they finally got a seat on a later bus, the whole family would end up in the same place.

The difficulties are almost impossible. In some cases, the children who have been found are too young to give their names or are too traumatized to speak, even if they are old enough to talk. In other cases, investigators have no child photographs to circulate because they were left behind in the floods.

The story of how Edwina Foster, 11, and her brother Foster Edward, 9, lost their mother is typical. The family was wading through waist-high water in New Orleans when they noticed passing trucks on I-10. They raced to the highway, and a pickup already crammed with 16 people stopped. Their mother, Judy Foster, begged the passengers to make room for her children: "Please watch them until we get to the Superdome. Please! Take the kids first, and I'll get on the next one."

In many cases, families put children on buses first and planned to get on different buses they thought would take them to the same shelter.

11 days after Hurricane Katrina roared through their lives, they and other children still are looking for parents or other relatives to claim them. Scores of children who turned up unaccompanied in New Orleans remain unclaimed and, in some cases, unidentified.

If by any chance you have some info of such displaced parent or children, please notify the proper agency, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or call their toll-free Hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) 24-hours a day.






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Photo: member of the American Red Cross helps giving directions and answers to displaced people from New Orleans to Houston in the first few hours of the historic evacuation after Katrina — the hurricane that could end up costing as much as $300 billion spent in 4 years for two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq together — when a quarter of million citizen being displaced and lost each other.



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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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