Devastating US tornadoes kill at least 78; fear more victims

The death toll left by one of the worst series of tornadoes in US history rose to 78 this Monday, as the president Joe Biden He announced that he will visit the Midwest region of the country where many towns were left in ruins.

The greatest consequences were recorded in the state of Kentucky, where the gobernador Andy Beshearreported at a press conference that “the most accurate count” so far was 64 dead residents and the outlook was pessimistic.

“There will be more. We believe [el saldo] it will exceed 70, maybe even 80, “said Beshear, who over the weekend had estimated that the death toll could exceed” one hundred. “The fatalities were between 5 months and 86 years old, he said.

One of the towns that suffered the most damage was Mayfield, in the state of Kentucky, where many houses were damaged and a candle factory was razed, leaving eight employees dead and as many missing.

Between last Friday and Saturday, at least 14 deaths were registered in four other neighboring states: Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.

Government to the rescue

The office of the president of the United States announced Monday that Biden will visit the area on Wednesday to assess the emergency situation.

The ruler had described the inclement weather as “one of the worst series of tornadoes” in the country’s history,

Biden declared Kentucky a “major catastrophe” area Sunday night.

“We will be present to allow the population to recover and rebuild,” US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas promised Monday morning on CNN television.

Kentucky was hit Friday night by one of the longest and most powerful series of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States.

The director of the United States Agency for Disaster Management (FEMA) Deanne Criswell warned Sunday that those states face a “new norm” of multiplying devastating weather events.

Criswell also highlighted the “incredibly unusual” and “historic” dimension of these tornadoes for this season.

Churches turned into shelters

In Mayfield, a small town of 10,000 in southern Kentucky – part of the so-called “Bible Belt,” where there is strong Church influence – groups of locals tried to clean up debris, search for supplies, and attend events. more victims, while several churches began to function as shelters for many evacuees.

Fallen trees and broken facades of houses mix with buildings washed away by the force of the storm in Mayfield.

We’ve worked so many years for all of this, and it went up in smoke, “said Randy Guennel, a 79-year-old retiree, who said he” had no more houses, no more cars, nothing else. “

Vanessa Cooper, 40, an employee at the local technical high school, was trying to salvage what she could from her mother’s apartment, of which only two walls remained. Three friends helped her clear twisted debris as she rummaged through damaged furniture.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but God helped me overcome many things in life,” he said.

Sitting in a chair across from what was left of his home, 59-year-old Marty Janes stared blankly as volunteers worked around him.

“I am devastated, it is incredible … I have nothing,” Janes told AFP. This man says that he could barely rescue a photo of his old university graduation and two American flags that he placed in front of the remains of the house.

Marty had been trapped in the back of their house, while his wife, Theresa, was in the bedroom when the roof collapsed. They were rescued by firefighters and the woman had to be hospitalized.

On CNN, Michael Dossett, Kentucky’s aid coordinator, had likened the situation to “the vision of a war zone.”

In the southern Illinois city of Edwardsville, six people died at a giant Amazon plant where they were on the night shift processing orders before Christmas.

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