A badly damaged house in Mayfield, Kentucky A badly damaged house in Mayfield, Kentucky  (AFP or licensors)

Fears US tornado death toll could rise further

There are fears the death toll which now stands at 74, could rise following deadly tornadoes that hit six states in the United States over the weekend.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Days on from the devastating barrage of tornadoes that struck six states including Kentucky, the race continues to find those who are still missing.

Over 70 people are now known to have died in last weekend’s disaster, with families left to mourn loved ones.

Death toll concerns

Those who lost their lives included at least six children; the youngest was just five months old.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the death toll was expected to rise further.

In Kentucky alone officials said 28,000 homes and businesses still lacked power, and 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Those who survived opened their doors to victims who had suddenly become homeless.

In the area of Mayfield in Kentucky, dozens had been feared dead at a candle factory destroyed during the storms but the company spokesperson said the death toll there was eight people.

While Kentucky was hit hardest by the tornadoes, six people died in an Amazon warehouse in Illinois.

The U.S workplace safety watchdog is investigating the circumstances around the collapse of the Amazon facility, and the company said it would cooperate.

Shelter for survivors

In the town of Wingo, Kentucky about 90 people, from babies to the elderly, are sleeping on green cots at a community center affiliated with a Presbyterian church.

Stephen Jennittie, was staying there with his wife, and about 90 other Mayfield residents, since they lost power and heat in their home

Their survival felt like such a miracle that it renewed his religious faith, Jennittie said, recalling how his house shook amid the rumbling noise.

"I was talking to God and I told my lady, when we get out of here, we're going to start going to church," said Jennittie, who added, he may leave a devastated hometown that he no longer recognizes.

More than 300 people in Kentucky, as well as in Arkansas and Tennessee, are being housed in Red Cross shelters, and that number is expected to grow. Hundreds more have been placed temporarily in resorts at area state parks.

14 December 2021, 15:26