“Not knowing is the hardest,” says local woman Dawn Grant, whose friends are missing in the mudslide that has destroyed an entire community in the US state of Washington.
The number unaccounted for in Oso near Seattle has now dropped to 90 from 176.
A rain-soaked hillside collapsed, cascading over Highway 530,destroying homes and blanketing a square mile in muck and debris.
“It is just heartbreaking… what we have already heard about the ones that have been found, and yes, we are all waiting for ones that haven’t been found,” Grant said.
At least 25 people have been confirmed dead in Saturday’s disaster.
Just hours after it happened, a helicopter rescue team plucked one four-year old boy to safety. His mother survived. She was away from home when the mudslide hit. But the child’s father and three siblings are among those missing.
Deeply traumatised survivors have rallied round to comfort the bereaved and support rescue crews with everything from free food to paper vigils.
President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration ordering US government assistance to supplement state and local relief efforts.