- (Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)
Families are praying for loved ones amid tragic stories as the death toll following Saturday's mudslide in Washington state hit 25, with close to 90 people still unaccounted for.
The death toll rose again on Wednesday night, Reuters reported, as rescue crews recovered new bodies from the 1-square-mile mudslide in the rural Snohomish County. The disaster, which was the result of recent heavy rainfall that caused uneven ground, destroyed close to 35 homes and devastated the entire community.
"All the people I know are gone," said construction worker Steve Findley, who was helping out with breakfast at a temporary shelter in Arlington.
The community has reportedly been supporting rescue crews in a variety of ways, from offering them food to holding prayer vigils. Close to 200 searchers continued scouring the disaster zone on Wednesday, though hopes of finding people alive days after the landslide hit have been fading.
CNN compiled several stories of members of the community grieving for dead or missing loved ones, sharing how they have been coping in the midst of tragedy.
"It's a living nightmare," said La Rae deQuilettes, whose husband Ron, an electrician, is one of those missing. The woman shared that she has been praying that he was able to find an air pocket somewhere and is still alive. Meanwhile, she has been trying to keep herself together for their four children.
"He's a fighter. He's tall and strong. He has a heart in him like there's no tomorrow."
Office manager Christina Jefferds at Northwest Smile Design was one of those confirmed dead, with reports noting that she was babysitting her 4-month-old granddaughter, Sanoah, when the mudslide hit.
"Chris was a beautiful person inside and out," wrote Kelly Peterson at Northwest Smile Design.
"She was so humble, yet so generous in volunteering the time, talents, and resources with which she had been blessed while never drawing attention to herself. For me personally, she was a counselor and a confidante, a steadying and calming force in times of stress, a source of inspiration and beauty, a true friend. With steadfast faith I eagerly look forward to a joyful reunion with my dear friend."
Rescue crews are still searching for Sanoah.
According to The Associated Press, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee said that state authorities will look into the adequacy of risk-assessment for landslides, after it was learned that warnings of potential catastrophic landslides in the area were made years ago.