September 09, 2005

Grossly Overstated

A lot of folks are hyping figures tossed out by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana U.S. Sen. David Vitter that deaths in New Orleans are in the range of 10,000 dead.

I'm going on the record and saying that the actual body count will be far lower than these estimates, probably in the range of 3,000-3,500 dead. Why?

The bodies just aren't showing up as you might expect as the floodwaters recede. If deaths were on the order of 10,000 in Louisiana, Reuters photographers wouldn't have to ask to join FEMA on rescue boats to find bodies to feast on; corpses would be piling up like driftwood at chokepoints and finding bodies to exploit would be no problem at all.

But that isn't occurring, and the simplest explanation is that far fewer people died than expected. We heard grossly over-inflated estimates in the hundreds or even thousands when Hurricane Floyd came through North Carolina back in 1999 and caused extensive flooding. 47 died, not 470, or 4,700.

Thankfully, the lack of bodies recovered so far indicate that this might also be the case with Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 9, 2005 02:06 AM | TrackBack

Good post! What happened here in NYC after 9/11 was that we were told there were over ten times the number of deaths than what was the true figure. The reason for this inflation was that relatives in other countries contacted their state departments, to search for people they had not heard from in a while; some didn't know one part of New York State from another. I think that in this current disaster, being so politicized, the media would be showing rows of body-bags, if they existed!

Posted by: Tom Bosee at September 9, 2005 07:19 AM

"Thankfully, the lack of bodies recovered so far indicate that this might also be the case with Hurricane Katrina."

I'm certainly praying that that is the case and I know that you guys are as well. On a hopeful note, I see that 2/3's of the refugees that were in the Astrodome have been able to find outside housing and, in some cases, jobs in Houston (which apparently was suffering a glut of open positions). For some, this disaster may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.


Posted by: Toby928 at September 9, 2005 12:34 PM

Good post.
There's nothing evil or slanted here. Just difficult to enumerate death. Harder than you realize
Stick to the lower, at least, number

Posted by: don surber at September 9, 2005 12:44 PM

Lets hope there are far far far fewer than anybody is predicting.

Posted by: muckdog at September 9, 2005 07:15 PM

Naturally the ghouls that are body counting will not deduct the normal number of people who die daily in a city the size of N.O. They will hype it that they were all killed by the Hurricane. There is no honest news reporters nor media outlets these days, just a bunch of idiots with a camera and a pencil. Look at the number of them in the way of the rescue across the south. All they did was suck up the water and food that the people needed. I have yet to see any of them tell the people (48 % who are stupid dim-wits) that there are several stages to a rescue operation, and 'rescue' is the primary one. Recovery of the dead is the last priorty. I will ignore a dead person (throw a sheet over them and move on) in a vehicle crash until the living have been taken care of, normal operating procedure everywhere. Anything else is a waste of manpower and resources.

Posted by: scrapiron at September 12, 2005 01:35 AM