California wildfires: Why are so many listed as missing?
|bbc.com 18 Nov 2018 at 14:47|
Over the last few days the number of people unaccounted for in the deadly Camp Fire in northern California has skyrocketed to more than 1,200.
The sudden jump has led to some confusion among locals and officials alike.
The confirmed death toll of 76 is already a state record, so could this huge number of missing people really still be added to that?
The answer is not so simple, as authorities in the worst-hit area, Butte County, have openly admitted.
On Friday, when the list first soared to over 1,000, Sheriff Kory Honea described the database as "dynamic".
"The information I am providing you is raw data and we find there is the likely possibility that the list contains duplicate names," the sheriff said on Friday.
Officials say the large fluctuation is occurring as investigators try to compile all the missing person reports from calls, reports and emails since the fire began on 8 November.
The fire spread rapidly, and many have reported having only minutes to gather their loved ones to try and escape through congested roads.
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Media captionDrone footage shows complete devastation in the Californian town of Paradise
Because of the intensity of the fire, officials have warned the full recovery may take weeks as hundreds of specialists and cadaver dogs use reports to find and search residences for evidence of human remains.
Some news sources were quick to point out duplications or strange anomalies in the county s list, including according to the New York Times.
The newspaper reported that they were able to locate some people from the list on social media, who confirmed they were, in fact, fine.
"My husband and I are not missing and never were!" she wrote Thursday night on one of the pages for missing people.