It is hard to imagine someone being affected in a more direct way than having a baby and then being separated from your baby during Hurricane Katrina, or simply getting separated from your child and family during the evacuation.
Hurricane Katrina Statistics
- 121 babies, many premature, were evacuated from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, La
- many other babies were transported to Dallas, Ft. Worth, and other parts of the country
- at least one pregnant mother in New Orleans had to wade through three foot high water while carrying her nine month old infant when she went into labor
- many families were separated as they were taken to different shelters, sometimes in different states, and some of these children are too young to know their names and family photographs, which could be used to help ID lost children, were lost in the flooding
- there is only one unconfirmed report of someone choosing 'Katrina' as the baby name for their baby born during the hurricane
- evacuated children are being enrolled in school districts from Arizona to Pennsylvania, including almost 19,000 who will be attending school in Texas
Kids Missing from Hurricane KatrinaThe National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, in an effort to find and reunite Hurricane victims in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, has set up a Katrina Missing Persons Hotline at 1-888-544-5475 and a website at missingkids.com. As of September 8, 1220 children were on the Hurricane Katrina missing persons list, which includes children that are either missing or simply looking for their parents.
Fortunately, over 250 children have already been successfully reunited with family members.
The Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) is a free tool that can also help families get reunited in an emergency or natural disaster.
Help for Infants and ChildrenTo seems like if it may be easier to get help if you are in a big shelter, like the Astrodome in Houston or Reunion Arena in Dallas, as a lot of the relief efforts from many different organizations are focused there.
- WIC - the WIC Program, which provides infant formula, breastfeeding support, and child nutrition support for those who need assistance. If you qualified for WIC in Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi, then you should be able to get WIC assistance in whatever state you have evacuated to. If you didn't previously qualify, you might call and apply to see if you do know if you need assistance feeding your baby or young child. Read more about WIC's Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response.
- local Red Cross chapter
- America's Second Harvest food bank find a food bank near that serves the local community near to where you have been evacuated to get some help feeding your children
- local Salvation Army center for assistance with food, utilities, rent, housing and other needs
For other assistance, try to call state and local organizations to find help. For example, the Texas Medical Association or Dallas County Medical Society might now where Hurricane Katrina evacuees can go for free or low cost immunizations or medical care in the North Texas area. State and local health departments might also be good places to look for health services if you are an evacuee.
Local churches and charities, including your local food bank, might also be good places to find assistance for your family, including things like baby formula, diapers, and clothing.