World

'We are afraid, fed-up and angry'

France come to terms with Nice tragedy

Mr Tahar Mejri looks exhausted as he stumbles out of the children's hospital in Nice, France, where he went in desperate search of his four-year-old son, Kylan.

"I have called everywhere, police stations, hospitals, Facebook and I can't find my son. I have been looking for him for 48 hours," he told AFP.

"My wife is dead, where is my son?"

Mr Mejri is one of hundreds whose life changed in an instant when a truck drove into Bastille Day crowds in Nice on Thursday.

A few hours later, his search came to an end at the Pasteur Hospital in the north of the city, where he learnt that his son was dead.

Earlier, he told AFP that he could not understand why Nice's famed Promenade des Anglais - from where thousands of people had watched a fireworks display - had not been closed to traffic.

It had been, but 31-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel smashed through onto the pavement in the truck, leaving police helpless to stop him from killing 84 and injuring around 200.

"Everyone was there, old people, babies," Mr Mejri said.

Abandoned dolls and pushchairs were among the debris left along the promenade after the driver was shot dead by police.

Ten children and teenagers were among the dead and another five children were still fighting for their lives alongside dozens of critically injured adults.

Thirty children were hospitalised at the Lenval Foundation paediatric hospital, where a unit of psychologists has been working with doctors to deal with the flood of trauma.

"There were a lot of head injuries and fractures," said hospital spokesman Stephanie Simpson.

Two of the children admitted to the hospital died shortly after the attack.

Ms Simpson said the youngest victim being treated was six months old.

Also in the hospital was an eight-year-old boy who had yet to be identified.

She said: "We are used to receiving a lot of children at the same time, but this has been hard to manage. It is the psychological aspect."

At the Lenval hospital, families dropped by sporadically to see trauma counsellors.

One man, who had been with his 13-year-old daughter and his ex-wife to see the fireworks display, had got caught up in the chaos after the attack.

He told AFP, on condition of anonymity: "It's the first time they have left the house since.

"They saw people running in all directions, shouting that there were gunmen in the town. My daughter can't even speak, her mother had to convince her to come."

On the Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the curved bay of clear blue water, locals wept as they placed flowers and candles at an improvised memorial.

"Right now, we are just afraid, fed-up and angry," said Ms Nicole Autard, who was there with her husband to pay tribute to the victims.

"We have passed the stage that anyone can stop this from happening."

Messages left at the scene of the carnage gave voice to the anger felt by many - "Enough talking", "Sick of the carnage in our streets", and "Stop the massacre".

"We want it to stop," said local Daniele Rousseille.

"They hit our symbol, the promenade, where we learnt to walk, to ride our bikes," she said.

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