“Nothing is as it should be,” Guay said. “Especially near the levee, you see six or seven houses smashed together. . . . There’s pieces of bodies strewn all over the place.”
That is a quote from a March 11 story at MaineToday.com attributed to Sgt. Roger Guay who had just returned from New Orleans. He and Warden Wayde Carter had been there with their search dogs Raider and Buddy as part of the renewed FEMA search for bodies. Guay had been there previously in December and again in March…
This time, Guay said, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s body recovery program lacked organization and logistical support, posing a danger to the men and their dogs.
He said the low point came Tuesday night, when the men were locked out of their hotel rooms and told they couldn’t get back in until they filled out paperwork requesting federal assistance as flood refugees.
Guay said they refused to fill out the forms, and when the problems couldn’t be resolved, he moved his unit back to Maine.
“I’ve pretty much lost faith in FEMA,” Guay said. “(There is a) lack of progress, a lack of common sense. The command structure is sucking up all the money and the work just isn’t getting done.”
Guay said they quickly found that the recovery operation they had joined was not ready to do the job it had been recruited to do. Instead of looking through wreckage of newly demolished houses, they were assigned to search houses that had already been searched several times.
Because of the dangerous conditions, the dogs needed access to veterinary services, Guay said. But despite the promise that a mobile unit would be available, none ever appeared. (all emphasis mine)
FEMA says the state of Louisiana should pay. Officials there say there is no time to argue and they are “scrambling” to try to find funds. Believe me there is a long dispute between the feds and the state over funding to find and collect bodies. I have been researching just who the hell IS responsible to collect the dead after a disaster. I will be doing a post later today on that. It may surprise you.
Athenae sent this quote after we had discussed the leaving of bodies to rot. It seemed to harken to the Dark Ages. But even during the Black Plague there were instructions of how to collect the dead. From “A Journal of the Plague Year” by Daniel Defoe, here are the King’s instructions:
“That there be a special care to appoint women searchers in every parish, such as are of honest reputation, and of the best sort as can be got in this kind; and these to be sworn to make due search and true report to the utmost of their knowledge whether the persons whose bodies they are appointed to search do die of the infection, or of what other diseases, as near as they can. And that the physicians who shall be appointed for cure and prevention of the infection do call before them the said searchers who are, or shall be, appointed for the several parishes under their respective cares, to the end they may consider whether they are fitly qualified for that employment, and charge them from time to time as they shall see cause, if they appear defective in their duties.”
I will have more later on the status of collecting bodies in present day America. For now I offer a remembrance ….”Requiem for Enlightenment” (beware our dead are in this) Music: Ave Verum Corpus
UPDATE: The remains of 2 more bodies were found today in the 9th Ward.