Lorenzo and Alfredo, Ilan and Deborah: the victims of the collapsed building in Surfside, near Miami, are no longer numbers but names and faces that adorn an improvised memorial installed this Saturday on the fence of the base camp of the first responders.
Behind the bars, a street away, smoke still rises from the Champlain Towers building, which has an amputated wing, and the sound of cranes cleaning the debris from the collapse of the building, early Thursday, that left the less four dead and 159 missing.
Below the photo of Alfredo, the father, and his dark-haired teenage son Lorenzo, the word “MISSING” and a message: “A family friend tells me they were in apartment 512.”
You can also see the photographs of an elderly couple sitting at a table in a restaurant, that of a young man in a suit and a bow tie, or that of a couple hugging on the beach, Ilan Naibryf and Deborah Berezdivin.
There are those who reproduced passages from the Bible that they pasted on with sticky notes. Around the photos are bouquets of flowers and candles were placed on the ground.
“We see the smoke in the distance, and here the faces of the disappeared are now unforgettable,” Olivia Ostrow, a French woman who has lived for 20 years in this small town north of Miami, told ..
“We put faces on these 159 disappeared, these parents, these children. They are people like us ”, he explains with tears in his eyes.
Gina Berlin, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost 30 years, came to pray for the missing. “I’m still in shock,” said the 54-year-old, who has a couple of friends in the intact part of the building who were able to escape.
– Peace and meditation –
In the midst of the noise of the electric generators and the emergency vehicles that come and go from the base camp, it is very difficult to collect. The police even for a time prohibited the population from stopping in front of the monument.
A few streets further away, the calm of a park that has also been transformed into a place of memory contrasts with the noise of cranes.
On the corner of a street with small houses, the neighbors have set up a small monument at the entrance of a space for dogs.
Bouquets of flowers, messages of support and the names of several missing, with their apartment numbers, were hung on the bars.
Dana Culvin, 53, had the idea on Friday. “I just want to convey my prayers and my love to the community and especially to those who are waiting for answers,” he said, referring to the families of the missing persons.
“Here you can find peace,” says Daniel Calzadilla, sitting on a park bench. “I know many families who have passed away, meditation is a very good thing to feel calm in the body and mind,” he explains.
Passing in front of the park, Raphael Amar stops in front of the monument.
This 63-year-old member of the Jewish community, born in Morocco and residing in Surfside For 20 years, he has returned from the synagogue, where the atmosphere was very heavy on this Shabbat day “because of all those missing people.”
Many Jews are among the missing from the building, but this small monument “shows that we are a community in this small town. We are all neighbors, and that creates an extraordinary feeling of unity. “