This story first appeared on the website of NBC News’ partner Sky News.
Huge nine-story buildings have been ripped off their foundations and smothered by volumes of mud.
From where I’m standing, at least three huge bridges in the city center are leveled.
As we walk through the mountains of rubble, boulders and rocks, we have to keep reminding ourselves these were once people’s homes — this was once a street packed with shops and malls. Even the road is now nonexistent.
A few hours after daybreak and there are small groups of civilians, some with just pickaxes, trampling over the boulders and rubble left in Derna center in the wake of Storm Daniel.
They tell us they’ve traveled from Tobruk and Misrata and Benghazi to help in what must be a truly awful task.
Six days on, they’re among several small groups setting out to try to locate their missing relatives who are included in the thousands still unaccounted for — more than 10,000 at the last count.
There are a few groups of soldiers too, as well as pockets of health workers dressed in blue hospital gowns and wearing masks to save them from the stench of death that hangs over this whole area.
The steaming heat has meant the corpses they’re finding are putrid after almost a week of decomposing.
They carry body bags. Few here still hold out hope of finding anyone alive.