This exceptional meteorological phenomenon crossed five states, leaving a trail of destruction for hundreds of kilometers. These were the worst in Mayfield, Kentucky.
The candle factory Mayfield Consumer Products is nothing more than a tangle of beams and twisted sheets, stacked several meters high. Equipped with cranes, bulldozers and other mechanical devices, rescuers progressed slowly through the rubble on Sunday, continuing to hope for a miracle.
Some 110 employees were working at the plant Friday night to meet the demand for the holiday season when the tornado destroyed everything. Several dozen people are still missing.
It is a very sad and serious operation at the moment, said Michael Dossett, coordinator of the relief in Kentucky, confirming that no survivors were removed from the rubble during the night of Saturday to Sunday.
It’s a war zone vision, he added, on CNN’s antenna.
Asked by NBC, Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan appeared to temper the possibility of a miracle:
There is still hope. But, right now, what we hope for is a warm shelter for our survivors.
The candle factory, a family business, has created an emergency fund to help families.
Elsewhere in Kentucky, but also in the states of Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas, there were the same scenes of flattened constructions, gutted buildings, twisted metal infrastructure, overturned vehicles, torn trees and bricks strewn in the streets.
“A tragedy,” says Joe Biden
These states were crossed by
one of the worst tornado series of the country’s history, lamented US President Joe Biden, describing their devastation
Federal disaster response agencies began to be deployed there, the head of state said, promising that federal services would do so.
all they can to help.
Messages of sympathy poured in from abroad. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday presented his
sincere condolences, the Pope addressing his prayers to the inhabitants of Kentucky from St. Peter’s Square.
The death toll rose on Sunday: at least 80 people died in Kentucky alone, Governor Andy Beshea announced.
This number will exceed the hundred, he added.
Tornadoes are a violent meteorological phenomenon that particularly affects the vast American plains. On amateur videos taken Friday night, we see these huge black columns sweeping the ground, illuminated by intermittent lightning.
It is also a part of the heritage that has been erased.
In Mayfield, old churches were destroyed and the courthouse badly damaged.
It’s like a bomb has gone off in our neighborhood, told AFP Alex Goodman, a resident of this city of 10,000 souls after a trying night in the dark and in anguish.
Kentucky was notably swept over more than 320 kilometers by one of the longest tornadoes on record in the United States, according to its governor. The longest that has been tracked on the ground occurred in 1925 in Missouri, and killed 695 people.
h30, we were told the tornado was coming. It came and went like that, suddenly “,” text “:” We had an alert at 9:30 am, we were told that the tornado was coming. It came and went like that, suddenly “}}”>We had an alert at 9:30 am, we were told that the tornado was coming. It came and went like that, suddenly David Norseworthy, 69, told AFP outside the destroyed porch of his home in Mayfield.
We have never seen anything like it in the area. Where it hits, it demolishes everything.
About thirty storms
About thirty of these storms swept across the country on Friday evening.
Another mourning site, an Amazon warehouse, whose roof collapsed in Edwardsville, Illinois, killing at least six people. Rescuers continued their search there on Sunday.
We are heartbroken at the loss of our colleagues there. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones, reacted on Twitter the boss of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.
Tennessee has recorded four deaths, two people have died in Arkansas, while at least two other deaths are to be deplored in Missouri.
President Biden pointed out that the weather phenomena were
more intense with global warming, without however establishing a direct causal link between climate change and the disaster that has grieved the country.