Coffins carrying human remains are still scattered across a town in the US state of Louisiana, almost four weeks after being surged out of their burial vaults by huge floods during Hurricane Ida.
The caskets have still not been returned to their original burial plots as the desperate residents attempt to rebuild their community in Ironton, 25 miles southeast of New Orleans, Pastor Haywood Johnson told CNN.
Floodwater from Hurricane Ida swept through the region at the end of August and many caskets were washed out of their vaults and displaced around New Orleans.
A pair of coffins, who were carrying a father and daughter, ended up next to each other in someone’s garden.
One coffin was tragically found upside down, MailOnline reported.
Pastor Johnson is still tragically looking for the coffins of his own mother, uncle and sister.
Johnson said: “It caused people to be in disarray.
“They’re shocked by the magnitude of the destruction, but they’re even more so overwhelmed by their loved ones floating and ending up landing in the streets and people’s yards and on the side of the levee and out in the field, and it’s just, just overwhelming.
“One of the things that bothered me is that I was the one that buried most of those people, most of the deceased, and it was like pulling the scab off of a wound.”
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Searching for missing coffins has been extremely difficult due to snakes, mud and high grass, according to the pastor.
Many of the caskets would have been weighed down with cement but the floods were powerful enough to wash them away.
On Tuesday, 21st September, the Louisiana Cemetery Response Task Force visited Ironton to see what they would need to be able to successfully recover all the missing caskets.
The community has set up a “staging area” for the bodies to be identified so they can be put back in their original final resting place.
Ryan Seidemann, chairman of the task force, explained that some of the caskets were majorly heavy and it wouldn’t be able to be done “without heavy equipment”.
He added: “When I was out in this community cemetery, I was up to my knees in muck, so finding the purchase for a crane or some other kind of [machinery] to get a hold and be able to lift these heavy weights is going to be a challenge.”