This is something to be hopeful about:
Estimates of the death toll from Hurricane Katrina have run as high as 10,000 but the actual body count so far is much lower and officials who feared the worst now hope the dire predictions were wrong.
The recovery of Katrina’s victims speeded up in the last two days. As of Thursday, Mississippi had recorded 201 deaths and Louisiana 118, while other affected states had much lower numbers.
Searchers are now going door-to-door in New Orleans neighborhoods where the water has fallen enough for a look inside flooded homes. In Mississippi teams have been recovering bodies since hours after the storm struck on Monday last week.
The results in both places have encouraged some officials to hope the body count may not reach the predicted heights.
“I am thinking we are better off than we thought we’d be,” said Louisiana state Sen. Walter Boasso, who represents St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans, parts of which still sit under 8 feet of water.
The authorities are ready in case the total sharply rises.
A small glimmer of hope.