After tornado devastation, rescuing has commenced in Mississippi.


26 people, including a baby and her father, were killed by a tornado that struck Mississippi and Alabama on Friday. Emergency services are conducting rescue efforts amidst flattened towns and destroyed buildings. Mississippi declared a state of emergency, and President Biden provided federal aid.

Senator Roger Wicker tweeted that recovery efforts in Mississippi began as FEMA staff toured the damage caused by Friday’s violent EF-4 rated tornado. A tornado watch was also issued for parts of Alabama and Georgia on Sunday, until 13:00 ET.

In Rolling Fork, the streets are cluttered with crushed cars, bricks, and glass, and the town has been nearly destroyed. A resident who survived by seeking shelter in his bathtub shared his story with the BBC. While the surrounding farmland is undamaged, the houses in the tornado’s path have been hit hard.

The tornado has completely destroyed numerous buildings in this rural town with a population of only 2,000 people, where 20% of residents live in poverty. Homes that were recently filled with family and friends preparing for the weekend have been reduced to rubble.

Timber frames have been snapped into pieces. There are upturned washing machines, but it is impossible to identify anything that might have been a kitchen.

Amongst the rubble, there are vehicles that have been tossed around. There is the occasional children’s toy and other signs of the lives that were lived here just hours earlier.
The tornado hit in the middle of the night – people had been sleeping and had not heard the alerts. For many the first indication that something terrible was happening was the noise.

Francisco McKnight told the BBC it was a miracle that he is alive. The only warning he had was the sound, he said – he had never heard anything like the noise of the wind on Friday night and never wants to again.

He took one look outside and then ran into his bathroom and got into the bath tub. He said that was what saved him.

The only part of his home that is still standing are parts of two of the bathroom walls.

The tornado lasted just five to 10 minutes he said, and he sat in the tub as the rest of his home was ripped away. For now, he is staying in one of the shelters that have been set up in the area.

He does not know what he will do next, but he says somehow he will rebuild his life.

Mississippi state governor Tate Reeves visited Silver City and Winona on Saturday to meet affected residents who had been hit by the tornado’s fury.

Sharing an update on Twitter, Mr Reeves described the situation as a “tragedy”, writing: “We are blessed with brave, capable Respondents and loving neighbor. Please continue to pray.”

Mr Reeves requested an expedited disaster declaration for the region and said: “We’re going to fight like hell to make sure that we get as many resources to this area as possible.”

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