The missing kids after Ike

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September 30, 2008 2:55:01 PM PDT
There are still dozens of families waiting for word on loved ones still missing from Hurricane Ike. A number of the missing are children.ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

The Laura Recovery Center has pictures posted on its Web site. More than 360 cases are unresolved, 25 are children, and even today they received more calls from family members trying to locate loved ones.

Even more than two weeks after the storm the phones are ringing around the clock at the Laura Recovery Center.

"Just the sheer loss that people feel when they can't reach out and touch someone, it's very painful to some people," said volunteer Babetta Demmeck.

Demmeck is just one of the volunteers manning the phone lines. Each time on the other end is a concerned voice looking for answers.

"We just need to find out," she said. "Sometimes they are just in a Red Cross Center somewhere and the relatives have lost touch with where they are."

Executive director of the Laura Recovery Center, Bob Walcutt, says they currently have more than 360 unresolved cases. More than two dozen are children ages 2 to 17.

"Under normal conditions we would never put a child's picture up there unless we had parental authorization," Walcutt said. "As it is in these cases sometimes it's the parents who were with the children."

While some of the so-called missing are likely in shelters or have no way of communicating right now, there is also that fear that will not be the outcome for everyone.

"Well they are very concerned and I really don't have any good answers for them," Walcutt said.

And in some cases each face represents an entire family who hasn't been heard from.

"On Bolivar Pennisula, if you've got a whole family missing and that was the area they were, you gotta wonder if they got out of there in time," Walcutt said.

Over the weekend volunteers went door to door in Galveston and were able to cross fifteen people from the list after they were found alive and well.

"We've actually worked roughly 700 intakes but not all turned out to be missing persons as such," Walcutt said.

But they say they won't stop working until every family has some kind of answer. No matter how difficult the outcome might be.

"It's the not knowing, that touches us here," Demmeck said.

The Laura Recovery Center is asking for help. If you have a missing love one listed and they are found safely, please notify them and authorities so they can be removed from the list. We have a link here.

Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


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