At least 23 people have died and dozens more have been injured after a tornado ripped through rural areas of western Mississippi (United States) this Friday night, according to the Emergency Management agency of that state.
“We can confirm 23 dead, dozens injured, 4 missing from the tornadoes last night. We have numerous local and state search and rescue teams that continue to work this morning,” the agency reported on its Twitter account this Saturday. “Unfortunately”, the account added in another message, “these figures are expected to change” as new information becomes available.
Search and rescue operations are currently underway in Sharkey and Humphreys counties (in the west of the state), according to information from this agency.
The scenes left behind by the tornado are bleak. Fallen trees and rubble that block the roads, houses and buildings practically destroyed, without walls, without roofs, as can be seen in various videos of the place.
“The city no longer exists”
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said a shocked Rolling Fork resident Brandy Showah, to CNN. “There used to be a city here, and now it’s gone,” she said.
The governor of the state, Tate Reeves, has lamented on Twitter the losses caused by this meteorological disaster and has sent his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
The epicenter of the destruction appears to be in the town of Rolling Fork, population 2,500, located in Sharkey County.
“Much of the city has been destroyed,” including all the businesses on a commercial and retail stretch of a local highway, former city mayor Fred Miller has acknowledged on Fox.
Some 100,000 homes in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee were still without power as of early Saturday, according to Power Outage.