10 years after Hurricane Katrina, a mom recalls the 4 days her daughter was lost.

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans.

When the levees broke, thousands of people scrambled to their roofs and attics in an effort to stay alive.


Marceline and her 2-year-old daughter were among the stranded.

She shared her heart-breaking experience with Save the Children: After waiting for help for a long time, a helicopter finally came for her daughter and other kids who needed rescuing.

Images by Save the Children USA.

Rescuers told Marceline they'd be back for her in 25 minutes. But they didn't return for six hours. By then, she couldn't find her daughter anywhere.

Like any parent, Marceline was flooded with worry about her missing child. "Where is she? How am I going to find her? Is she OK?" she wondered. "I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I just had to stand there ... picturing her face in my mind. I knew she was frightened."

For four days, Marceline had no idea where her daughter was or whether she was safe.

Then, she got a phone call. Her daughter had been located. Marceline recalls their reunion with tears. "I didn't even give the plane enough time to land. I ran to it."

"She did not let me go. She held me tight for days," Marceline recalls.

Fortunately, Marceline's story has a happy ending. But they weren't alone in their separation. Nearly 5,000 children were reported missing after Hurricane Katrina. It took six months for the last missing child to be found.

What can parents do in the face of natural disasters and emergencies we may not see coming?

Save the Children USA has created a child contact card you can fill out online. It will create a PDF, and you can print a few copies. Place one in your child's backpack. Have another handy to stick in a pants pocket in the event of an emergency evacuation, like what happened during Hurricane Katrina.

Most Americans have a pretty solid sense of security, but we never know when an emergency or natural disaster will occur. "I just want everybody to be prepared ... because [an emergency] is going to happen again. Believe me, it is," says Marceline.

You can watch Marceline recount the day she and her toddler were separated.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

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