The National Center for Missing Adults is dramatically scaling back its operations, saying the search for thousands of people displaced or killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has nearly bankrupted the organization, reports USA Today. Kym Pasqualini, chief executive of the Phoenix-based operation, said the group’s offices were closed last week and hotlines went untended for more than five days when the center was forced to smaller quarters elsewhere in the city.
The organization, called on by the Justice Department to help with hurricane relief efforts, handled more than 13,000 calls after last year’s disaster. It recently has cut its staff from 13 to five. Federal assistance for the group, which has operated since 2002, has steadily declined since its opening, from $1.5 million at the start to $148,000 this year. By comparison, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has 340 full-time staffers and receives an estimated $34 million in federal aid each year.