A series of tornadoes that hit six states in the United States have left 88 people dead and at least 109 missing, officials said.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear confirmed 74 deaths. In a choked voice, he said the dead ranged between 5 months and 86 years old. “Like the people of Western Kentucky, I don’t do a good job,” Bashir said.
The governor said 109 people are still missing and “it may take weeks before we achieve the final balance of death and destruction levels.”
“Without a doubt, there will be many more deaths,” he added.
Satellite images show before and after the passage of American hurricanes
However, the governor made it clear that fears of a massive number of deaths in the collapse of a candle factory in the storm-ravaged town of Mayfield appeared unfounded. About 110 employees were working Friday night (10) at the Mayfield Consumer Products plant when the hurricane reduced the building to rubble.
Jimmarion Hart, 21, said he was “glad to be alive” after surviving seven grueling hours trapped in the rubble of the factory.
“It was really scary, really painful,” he recalls, speaking to AFP. “The walls, the cement blocks, the metal, the wood, everything broke you.”
The owners of the factory reported that eight were killed and eight were missing in the collapse, and confirmed that “94 are alive and have been counted,” according to Bashir.
A drone image shows debris and collapsed building structures in downtown Mayfield, one of Kentucky’s most tornado-hit cities – Photo: Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP
Thousands of people were displaced and the governor described the storm as the worst ever in the state.
At least 14 deaths were recorded in four other states affected by hurricanes: Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.
Six people have died at an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, southern Illinois, where employees worked the night shift to process orders for the holiday season.
Satellite imagery shows the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle plant and adjacent buildings in Kentucky Jan. 28, 2017, from top and bottom Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 after a hurricane caused severe damage to the area – Image: Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies via AP
The office of the President of the United States announced on Monday (13) that Biden will visit the region on Wednesday (15) to assess the emergency situation.
On Sunday, Biden announced the Kentucky area ‘big disaster’, allowing additional federal aid to be directed to recovery efforts.
“We will be there to allow the population to recover and rebuild,” US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas promised CNN.
Kentucky was hit Friday night with one of the largest and most powerful series of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States.
FEMA Director Dean Cresswell warned Sunday (12) that these states face a “new standard” for the proliferation of devastating weather events.
Cresswell also highlighted the “extremely rare” and “historic” dimension of these hurricanes for this season.
With massive recovery efforts approaching, immediate concerns about the safety and well-being of residents became a priority as cold weather began to affect devastated cities.
Authorities said about 28,500 people were without power in Kentucky on Monday.
Churches become shelters
In Mayfield, a small town of 10,000 people in southern Kentucky – part of the “Bible Belt”, where the church wields strong influence – groups of residents have tried to clear rubble, scavenge for supplies and help those most affected, while many churches have begun to serve as shelters for the many who They were evacuated.
Images of fallen trees and destroyed homes blend with the toppled buildings in Mayfield.
“We’ve worked for many years through all of this and now it’s starting to smoke,” 79-year-old retiree Randy Jennell laments, “There are no more homes, no more cars, nothing else.”
Vanessa Cooper, a 40-year-old employee of the local art school, was trying to salvage what she could from her mother’s apartment, of which only two walls were left. Three of her friends helped her remove the crooked rubble while she was inspecting the damaged furniture.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but God has helped me overcome many things in life,” he said.
Sitting in a chair across from what’s left of his house, 59-year-old Marty Gaines stared blankly out into space as volunteers worked around him.
“I’m devastated. It’s amazing…I don’t have anything,” Janes says.
He had been trapped in the back of his house while his wife, Teresa, was in the bedroom when the ceiling collapsed.
After the firefighters were rescued by firefighters, the couple were separated for two days while Teresa was in the hospital, he says with tears in his eyes.
In an interview with CNN, Kentucky aid coordinator Michael Doucet likened the situation to “a vision of a war zone.”
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