recovery, identification and release of bodies of victims of the flood to their
New Orleans–Friday morning another phase of this tragedy moved inexorably forward, one necessary and most difficult, the reclamation and identification of bodies.
The Red Cross estimates 100 to 175 familes a day will be moving into its disaster mortuaries. However, the estimate is only that, an estimate.
The magnitude of the disaster makes it nearly impossible to know with precision how many have been killed even at this stage of the recovery.
Meeting with officials of the Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, a Red Cross official told the group that temporary morgues need trained clergy to be present in the mortuaries where the bodies are being brought in. In addition, family support centers are being set up to receive and care for families coming to identify and claim bodies.
In addition, prayer teams are being assembled to offer support to those who desire prayer. The prayer teams will carry out twenty-four hour prayer vigils to support both families and the communities in which the disaster morgues are located.
The disaster mortuary is run by FEMA in collaboration with other organizations. Teams are gathering information on websites to identify families looking for family members. Necessary as it is, it’s a job no one really wants, yet one that is obviously critical at this time of great tragedy.