At least 50 dead in Kentucky as storms hit United States

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Washington (AFP) – At least 50 people have died after four tornadoes ravaged the southeastern state of Kentucky, its governor told reporters early Saturday, as multiple storms ravaged swathes of the country.

A number of counties in Kentucky were devastated by the strongest tornado that swept through the state’s 200 miles, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

That same night, a storm ripped through a massive Amazon warehouse in the state of Illinois, where around 100 workers remained trapped inside, local media reported.

“I’m afraid there are more than 50 dead … probably closer to somewhere between 70 and 100, it’s devastating,” Beshear said, adding that it was “the tornado event. the most serious in Kentucky history “.

In one incident, the roof of a candle factory collapsed, causing “massive losses” in the town of Mayfield, the governor added.

Photos and videos shared on social media from Mayfield showed buildings torn apart by the storm, with twisted metal, trees and dislodged bricks strewn across the streets and only the remains of houses left behind.

Images of the tornadoes broadcast by US news channels showed a black cylinder sweeping across the ground, illuminated by intermittent lightning.

“Before midnight, I declared a state of emergency,” Beshear said.

He added that dozens of search and rescue officials had been deployed to save lives as power outages continued to hit the region.

‘Prayers’

The tornado came as storms wreaked havoc in several US states.

Hundreds of officials were working until the early hours of Saturday to rescue workers at an Amazon warehouse – a third of whom have been reduced to rubble – who were on night shift processing orders before the Christmas break.

The Collinsville Emergency Management Agency described it as a “mass casualty incident” with “multiple subjects trapped in the Amazon warehouse.”

A tornado warning was then in effect in the area.

Images shared on U.S. news channels and social media from Amazon’s warehouse in the city of Edwardsville showed much of the facility’s roof torn off, as one of the walls collapsed in the building, with rubble strewn over the site.

Edwardsville Police said in a statement there had been “confirmed deaths”.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said: “My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville this evening.”

“Our Illinois State Police and our Illinois Emergency Management Agency are both coordinating closely with local authorities and I will continue to monitor the situation,” he added.

In a statement sent to local media, Amazon spokesman Richard Rocha said, “The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority at this time. We are assessing the situation and will share additional information when available “.

In Arkansas, one person was killed and 20 more were trapped after a tornado hit the Monette Manor nursing home, US media reported, with another person killed elsewhere in the state.

Craighead County official Marvin Day told local news stations rescuers managed to get out those trapped in the building and the structure was “largely destroyed”.

In Tennessee, at least two people were killed in incidents related to the storm, an emergency management official told local media.

Tornadoes ravaged all four states – Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee – with warnings in effect for Illinois.

Scientists have warned that climate change is making storms more powerful and increasing their frequency, posing a growing threat to areas where extreme weather events are already common.


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