United States: at least 70 dead in a tornado in Kentucky
Steph Deschamps / December 11, 2021
More than 70 dead in Kentucky where a city was at least partially leveled, other victims counted from Tennessee to Illinois: destructive tornadoes hit a part of the United States on Friday.
It is in Kentucky, in the center-east of the country, that the heaviest toll is to be deplored after the passage of this devastating meteorological phenomenon, which particularly affects the plains of the United States
Entire city blocks were razed, evoking a war zone. The city has taken the hardest hit. The devastation there is massive, Michael Dossett, a local rescue official, told CNN. The collapse of the roof of a candle factory in Mayfield caused countless casualties, said Governor Beshear. Before midnight, I declared a state of emergency, he said.
Photos and videos shared on social media show gutted buildings, twisted metal, overturned vehicles, trees and bricks scattered in the streets. Several Kentucky counties were also devastated by the strongest tornado that traveled more than 200 miles across the state, the governor added.
American TV stations filmed the passage of the tornadoes: black columns sweeping the ground, illuminated by intermittent lightning. Further northwest, in Illinois, the force of the winds partly tore off the roof of an Amazon warehouse ravaged by the storm. These were employees of the distribution giant who were working nights to process orders before the holiday season. Police confirmed several deaths in the warehouse and the Collinsville Emergency Management Agency said there were many people trapped in the building.
Rescue workers worked until the early hours of Saturday to try to extricate these people from the facility, a third of which is now just rubble.
We are deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family have passed away due to the storm in Edwardsville, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told AFP. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said his prayers are with the people of Edwardsville.
In Arkansas, one person was killed and 20 were trapped in a nursing home, according to media reports. But rescuers managed to evacuate the trapped people from the building, whose structure was virtually destroyed, Craighead County official Marvin Day told local news channels. Another person died elsewhere in the state. In Tennessee, at least two people were killed in weather-related events, according to an emergency management official cited by local media. Tornadoes have also touched down in Missouri. Scientists say climate change is increasing the size and frequency of storms already affecting the United States.