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Tornadoes and strong storms kill more than 70 in the United States

The governor of Kentucky says at least 70 people were killed in the US state, but he admits that the number could increase in the next few hours.

Tornadoes and severe storms have hit seven US states in recent hours, leaving more than 70 people dead in Kentucky alone and leaving a 200-mile trail of destroyed homes and buildings, according to US officials.

During the early hours of Saturday, at least four tornadoes hit parts of Kentucky, causing significant damage in more than a dozen counties.

At a Saturday morning press conference, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the total death toll could exceed a hundred. “The level of devastation is unlike anything I’ve seen,” said the governor, quoted by Reuters.

“Earlier this morning, we were sure we were going to lose over 50 Kentucky residents. Now I’m sure that number is over 70. In fact, it could end up going over 100 before the end of the day,” he added.

In previous statements to WLKY television, Beshear admitted that “daylight” could bring “more difficult news”. “It was one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history,” he lamented. “Some places were affected in such a way that it is difficult to describe in words”.

According to the governor of Kentucky, 189 members of the National Guard were deployed to areas hardest hit by tornadoes.

One of the worst-affected areas was Mayfield, a small town in the western part of the state with about 10,000 inhabitants that was hit by heavy rains and winds in excess of 300 kilometers per hour. About 110 people were inside a candle factory when one of the tornadoes hit the city and destroyed the building’s roof, causing several deaths. About 40 people were rescued from the factory.

Some videos and photographs shared on social media show the destruction in downtown Mayfield, with cars nearly buried under rubble.

According to the Mayfield Police Chief, police stations and fire stations were also destroyed and a curfew was imposed from 7 pm (local time).

In the first hours after the tornadoes hit Kentucky, more than 56,000 people were left without electricity, with Governor Beshear declaring a state of emergency.

The tornadoes originated in a series of storms that occurred during the night, including a strong storm that formed in Arkansas and headed towards the states of Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

One person also died and five were seriously injured when a tornado hit a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas. A few kilometers from Leachville, in the same state, a tornado also destroyed a store, killing one person.

In Illinois, police also confirmed that at least two casualties were recorded after a roof partially collapsed at an Amazon warehouse in the city of Edwardsville. Rescue teams continue their search of the rubble, with the Illinois police chief revealing that authorities believe there were around 50 employees inside the warehouse at the time it was hit by the storms.

In Tennessee, severe storms have killed at least three people, according to Dean Flener, a spokesman for Tennessee’s emergency management department.

According to Reuters, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said it had received 36 reports of tornadoes hitting the states of Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The US President, Joe Biden, ordered this Saturday that federal resources be directed to the places most in need, as revealed by the White House. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is deploying human resources to help with emergency operations, as well as water and other needed supplies to the worst-affected regions.

Biden reacted via the social network Twitter, saying he was informed about the “devastating tornadoes” that hit the United States. “Losing a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy. We are working with the governors to ensure they have what they need as the survivor searches and damage assessments continue,” he added.

Source: With Agencies

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