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‘Many dead’ as tornadoes rip through US Midwest

Tornadoes have ripped through parts of the US Midwest killing at least one person in Minneapolis and dozens of others in the Missouri town of Joplin.


Tornadoes have been causing havoc across the Midwest

Damage was widespread across the south side of Joplin, located just miles from the borders of Kansas and Oklahoma. A local hospital was among the buildings to take a “direct hit”, reports said.

The Springfield News-Leader, a local news website put the death toll at 24.

“The Home Depot is levelled. The Walmart is destroyed. Gas stations, buildings. Everywhere I could see was either heavily damaged or completely destroyed,” said John Miller, a freelance photographer for the Springfield News-Leader said.

“I saw firefighters and paramedics pull a young girl out of a car at the Home Depot,” Mr Miller said. “Part of the building had fallen on the car.”

Jay Nixon, the state’s governor, declared a state of emergency and activated National Guard troops in response to what he described as “significant destruction in multiple areas, including Joplin, where a tornado struck St. John’s Regional Medical Center.”

“These storms have caused extensive damage across Missouri, and they continue to pose significant risk to lives and property” he said.

“As a state, we are deploying every agency and resource available to keep Missouri families safe, search for the missing, provide emergency medical care, and begin to recover.”

US President Barack Obama has sent his “deepest condolences” to victims of tornadoes.

“Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Missouri as well as communities across the Midwest today,” the president said in a statement sent from Air Force One as he was flying to Europe.

“We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time,” the president added.

Charles Bradley, Missouri State Highway Patrol dispatcher , said the precise extent of the damage was not immediately known but it appeared that the devastation could rival the destruction left by a deadly twister that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last month.

More than 30 people died in that storm.

Video carried on the Weather Channel showed extensive areas where whole neighbourhoods had been levelled.

Steve Runnels, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, near Joplin, said indications were that the tornado was very powerful.

“We have reports of significant structural damage to strong buildings,” he said. “Automobiles have been flipped, bark was stripped off trees.”

The storm was part of a series that battered the Midwest on Sunday. Tornado warnings and watches were posted from Texas to Michigan.

In Minneapolis, city spokesman Sara Dietrich said one death was confirmed by the medical examiner.

The storms came after a tornado on Saturday night that swept through a small eastern Kansas town, killing one person and destroying at least 20 homes, as severe thunderstorms pelted the region with hail that some residents described as the size of baseballs,.


Filed in: World News

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