Mo K-9 Unit Cleans Up Ninth Ward

1 decade 3 years 6 months ago Friday, April 07 2006 Apr 7, 2006 Friday, April 07, 2006 11:15:55 AM CDT April 07, 2006 in News

The task force included a K-9 unit to search for bodies. Most of the cadaver dog teams have pulled out claiming FEMA's too disorganized. But some have stayed to search for closure.

Wayne Buford and his constant companion Rusty, a nine year old Aussie, have made it their mission to find the missing in the destroyed Ninth Ward.

"My whole house flooded, everything gone," said former Ninth Ward resident Archie Lambert. "It was a disaster, no time to think, no time to do anything."

After the levees broke, Archie waited on the roof of his home and listened to people's cries as they floated by.

"I'm drowning, save me do this, all through the night. You could hear them all through the night."

But many Ninth Ward residents never escaped.

"We had quite a few people we actually had to remove through the roof because they were trapped up in the rafters," said Buford, a member of the Missouri K-9 Search and Rescue.

Some Ninth Ward residents are still trapped underneath debris piles that used to be their homes.

"There are hundreds of people that are still missing that they cannot find," said Chris Diamond, another member of Missouri Search and Rescue.

Half a year later sounds of levee rebuilding fill the neighborhood as Buford and Rusty recover the bodies. Sometimes the dogs find a body but it cannot be removed because of all the debris. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is starting to remove rubble from the road.

"We've been asked to come in, evaluate those homes, make sure that its clean and clear so when they do tear them out, there's no chance someone is still in there."

And its this teams mission to make sure no one is left inside."

We know there's going to be people that we don't find. We know there's people that probably washed out to the Gulf once the water receded.

They're helping families find closure. Then the next phase, the healing and rebuilding process can begin.

FEMA still owes Buford $21,000 for 60 days of work. Even without pay, Buford says he'll stay in New Orleans until his job is done.

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