October 20, 2021

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“I lost everything”, “a big shock”: Residents and families of those who went missing in the Miami tragedy

“I lost everything,” said Eric de Moura, 40, in front of a community center in Surbside, a small community in Miami-Date County, where he will try to find housing in the coming days.

He lived for three years on the 10th floor of the Brazilian Sampline Towers complex, part of which collapsed at midnight for an undecided reason.

He considers himself a “miracle worker” because he decided to sleep with his girlfriend last night rather than go home.

“I am homeless, I have lost my papers, my clothes, my green card, my money,” he explains, torn between sadness and the joy of being alive: “I’ll come back to see the building, it’s a shock. I have a lot of regrets but I’m happy to be alive. “.

Eric de Maura, on the other hand, worries about the fate of his neighbors.

“Everything collapsed. I think the people on my floor were dead,” he muttered.

Anxiety and bewilderment

These residents had the best view, which looked directly at the beach and the sea. This area just collapsed like a house of cards at night.

Search teams – firefighters, police, dog units – spent the day searching for survivors in the wreckage, while a crane cleared the wreckage and a helicopter patrolled the skies.

The untouched of the remaining 12-story building, a few iron balconies were removed, but all residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure and the neighborhood was cordoned off on several streets.

A few blocks away were residents who had been converted into a relief and shelter cell in the community center.

That’s where they wait for relocation, with family, relatives or in hotels that offer rooms. Others are waiting to know the fate of relatives who lived in the building.

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Volunteers bring water, coffee, packed lunches, clothes and blankets, and the American Red Cross and emergency services teams are there to comfort them. People come and go, some sitting, staring into space motionless, others badly repressed.

Ron Ben Hyun, a 22-year-old volunteer, promises that more than 1,000 people have passed through the center. This North Miami resident returned to help with his childhood.

In this city with a large Jewish community, he says, “We help everyone, we are no exception.”

The young man, who had just returned from Israel, did his military service, saying “this is a big shock” to the community and the city.

Earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapidte spoke to the head of the Jewish community in Miami, saying the Jewish government was “doing everything possible to help ground forces, wounded and families.”