By Vatican News
The National Weather Service said one and possibly two tornadoes struck the town of Beauregard, in the state of Alabama, with a powerful EF-4 twister with winds estimated at more than 270 kilometres per hour blamed for most of the destruction.
At least 23 people are known to have died, including a number of children. Authorities said the “monster tornado” was the deadliest twister to hit the U.S. since May 2013, when 24 people were killed in Moore, Oklahoma.
Authorities acknowledged the possibility of more casualties, as they continue to look for survivors.
"Our whole nation mourns"
In the aftermath of the disaster, US Donald Trump said, “Our whole nation mourns for the more than twenty lives lost, and for the heartbroken families they leave behind”. Speaking to the community of Lee County, he said, “We grieve by your side, and we pledge our unwavering support to help you rebuild from the very depths of this horrible tragedy”.
Call for prayers
Archbishop Thomas Rodi, of Mobile, Alabama, also issued a statement, asking for prayers “for those who lost their lives and for their loved ones, as well as for those who have lost homes and business”. In the wake of the “catastrophic tornodoes”, he said Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Mobile “has reached out to the pastors of the affected areas to offer assistance to those in need”. Catholic social services, he said, “stands ready to be a part of the recovery”.
Communities in the neighbouring states of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina were also damaged by the same storm system.