The violent tornado in the southern United States has killed at least 26 people. In the state of Mississippi, which is particularly hard hit by poverty, entire towns were destroyed. Meteorologists warn of more storms.
The death toll after the severe tornado in the southern United States has risen to at least 26. According to civil protection, 25 people were killed and numerous people injured in the US state of Mississippi alone. According to media reports, at least one person died in neighboring Alabama. Hundreds of people became homeless.
At least one tornado swept through Mississippi on Friday evening (local time), and several storms raged in the region. The storm, with wind speeds of up to 320 kilometers per hour, raged for more than an hour. The National Weather Service said the landscape had been destroyed in an area 270 kilometers long.
The tornado caused devastation in the cities of Silver City and Rolling Fork in particular. Roofs were swept off houses, trees uprooted and power lines damaged.
The town of Silver City in Mississippi was also hit hard.
“My City Is Gone”
Around 2,000 people have lived in the almost completely destroyed small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi – many of them in converted trailers. A large part of the population lives below the poverty line.
“My city is gone. But we will be resilient and we will come back,” the city’s mayor, Eldridge Walker, said on US television. When the storm warning came, he and his wife took shelter in the bathtub in their house. Now his city offers the picture of “complete devastation”.
Mississippi’s governor, Republican Tate Reeves, declared a state of emergency and promised to rebuild the destroyed sites.
“This is one of the rarer tornadoes that we’ve seen in Mississippi history, based on longevity and strength over a period of time,” meteorologist Lance Perrilloux told NPR radio. At least one other, weaker tornado may have hit the state, but that has not yet been confirmed.
The weather service warned of further severe thunderstorms with hailstones that could reach the size of chicken eggs. Tornadoes and gusts of wind with a speed of more than 110 kilometers per hour are also possible. The meteorologists assume that the storms will only weaken in the evening and are likely to be followed by isolated showers.
Rebuilding could take years
The head of the national civil protection agency FEMA, Deanne Criswell, and Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas wanted to visit the affected region. “We will do everything we can to help,” US President Joe Biden promised in view of the “heartbreaking” pictures from Mississippi.
Mississippi is considered the poorest state in the USA, which is why natural disasters like the current tornado hit people there particularly hard. The reconstruction could drag on for many years.