Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, praised the efforts of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for successfully reuniting with their families 5,192 children who were missing as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The last missing child, four year-old Cortez Stewart, was brought to her family in Houston this week.
“More than five thousand children were separated from their families after Hurricane Katrina. This week, the last missing child was brought home to her family, thanks to the tireless efforts of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children,” said Senator Joe Lieberman. “They should be commended for their significant achievement in reuniting all the children separated from their families by Katrina’s devastating path.” In December, Senators Collins and Lieberman sent a letter to David Paulison, Acting Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, urging FEMA to recognize the urgency of the situation and to cooperate with the NCMEC and the FBI in order to help quickly resolve the hundreds of cases that were still outstanding months after the hurricane. (Click here for the letter) “While hundreds of thousands of people in the Gulf Coast lost homes and possessions after Katrina, the 5,000 children who lost contact with their families were some of Katrina’s most helpless victims. The successful partnership between the FBI and the NCMEC, enhanced by information provided by FEMA, was critical to helping these children find their way back to their families. Reuniting Katrina’s child victims who were spread out across the country was a difficult task, and it could only have been completed with the full cooperation of all organizations involved. This positive outcome should serve as a model of cooperation among these organizations that can be applied to future disasters,” said Senator Lieberman