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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
British families fear for US relatives
As well as the 96 Britons who remain unaccounted for following Hurricane Katrina, many families in the UK are anxiously waiting for news about relatives in the US who have emigrated or are related through marriage.

Teresa Perricone
Teresa Perricone's family in Coventry is 'worried sick'

Among them are Bill and Sue Fleming, who live in Wraysbury, Berkshire.

Bill's aunt and uncle, Carrie and Bob Walker, live in Biloxi, Mississippi, as do the Walkers' daughter Maria and her children Lisa and Christine. The area was badly affected by the hurricane.

The UK arm of the family has heard nothing of whether their loved ones evacuated the area in time, and have been ringing their home day and night, to no avail.

Carrie - Bill's mother's sister - has lived in the US for more than 40 years, after marrying American Bob, who was in the Air Force.

It would do me in if anything had happened to them, it would break my heart
Bill Fleming, Berkshire

"When the hurricane happened we tried to get in touch, and also went through the Red Cross in the US. We hope they may have gone to their son Stephen's place in Alabama but we have heard nothing from there either.

"I hope they evacuated - Bob's done two tours of Vietnam, he's no mug.

"They say no news is good news, but when you know nothing at all you get more and more worried.

"Carrie is like a mother to us. When they come to the UK they always stay with us, and we've been out there to see them."

Bill, 55, said he would fly out to the States if he thought it would help find them.

"We are grasping at anything at the moment. It would do me in if anything had happened to them, it would break my heart."

If he could get in touch he would
Kath Zyntek, Coventry

Meanwhile in Coventry the Zyntek family are trying to comfort 78-year-old grandmother Margaret, whose sister Teresa Perricone and nephew Sal and his family in New Orleans are unaccounted for.

Kath Zyntek said her mother-in-law Margaret was "worried sick" and had not slept properly since the scale of disaster became clear.

Margaret is waiting for surgery and had planned to visit her sister at her home in the Metairie suburb of in New Orleans in the Spring, when she had recovered.

Mary and Sal Perricone
Mary and Sal Perricone may have evacuated, their UK relatives hope

Her sister and two brothers all emigrated to the US in the 1950s.

"The thing we keep saying to keep our mind focused is that they must be in a refuge without any means of communication. But at the same time we have to be realistic and say we are so many days down the line and we've had absolutely nothing," said Kath.

She said her husband's cousin Sal - who they believe is missing along with his wife Mary and sons Robert, 20, and Adam, 18 - is a well-educated lawyer who has served as a district attorney.

"He'd have contacts, he'd know exactly what to do. If he could get in touch he would."

Sal has a sister in Baton Rouge, and they were clinging to the hope he had evacuated the whole family there, she said.

Wind damage

Mother-of-two Suzanne McQueen, of Maidstone, Kent, is waiting for news of her American husband (William) Forest McQueen.

He has been working in his home country since 1997, and lives and works with his brother in the Abita Springs area, north of Lake Pontchartrain, which is north of New Orleans.

The couple married in the UK in 1991, and Suzanne said she and her daughters - aged 11 and 13 - were planning to move to the US to join her husband as soon as was possible.

Forest McQueen
Mr McQueen's wife has had no news from his friends and family
Part of his job there is to maintain the grounds of an old plantation house, she said.

"I phoned the morning the hurricane hit, and his brother said Forest hadn't been home for the last 24 hours because he'd been on shift clearing up trees and lines from all the wind damage that came before the hurricane. I haven't heard anything since.

"I've been going through a list of phone numbers for friends and family in the area and can't get through to anyone.

"Up until yesterday or the day before I thought everything would be okay and that they hadn't been in touch because the power was down. But I've since seen more information about the amount of wind destruction there.

"I am getting very concerned. I am trying to contact people from work so the girls don't know how worried I am."


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