President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Kentucky after he feared that at least 100 people would be killed and thousands homeless when tornadoes hit several states over the weekend.
“There is nothing left standing where tornadoes have swept,” Kentucky Governor Andy Bashir said.
On Monday, the search for survivors was in full swing. They still hoped for a miracle, but hope soon went to those who were not found.
Authorities are still working hard to get an overview of the damage. What is clear is that thousands of people have lost their homes. On Monday, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.
So far, 74 people have been confirmed dead. 109 people are still registered as missing.
Governor Bashir visited Mayfield. There, both the fire station and the town hall were flattened. Mayor Cathy Steward said, According to the BBC The municipality does not have a single house or a single car that still has full windows. “They look like matches,” Mayfield said.
At the candle factory, eight employees were confirmed dead. Eight others are still missing. Previously, it was feared that the death toll at this plant would be much higher. Before Christmas is the busiest period of the year.
BBC I spoke to factory worker Keanna Parsons Perez. She was rescued from the building after using her phone to call for help. According to her, employees at nearby businesses were told to go home before the hurricane hit. But she and her colleagues had to keep working.
Everything is destroyed
On Friday night and Saturday night, at least 50 tornadoes swept through six states in the southeastern United States. Researchers are now evaluating whether the strongest hurricanes may be category EF5, which would preferably be at the top of the scale.
The wind speed of such hurricanes is more than 320 kilometers per hour. It’s been more than eight years since the United States was last hit by EF5 tornadoes.
Kentucky was the hardest hit. Entire cities were destroyed.
Banker Stephen Elder spoke to CNN About how the birthplace of Mayfield was destroyed. The small town has a population of about 10,000 people. They have worked hard to restore the old town around the town hall.
– Every historical building we have has been flattened. Churches that have stood here for hundreds of years and hundreds of years. He said it’s like a war zone, or something you see in the movie.
He stressed that the most important thing now are the people of the city. He lost many family members and close friends. Others are waiting for their hopes to recede from the news of the missing.
You don’t have a phone at work
Kentucky was the hardest hit. At least 14 deaths have been reported in neighboring countries. At Amazon’s large warehouse and distribution center in far southern Illinois, six employees have died.
The huge building was more than 102,000 square meters. One of the large walls collapsed and the ceiling collapsed.
The company’s management quickly appeared in the media with assurances that it did everything in its power to get the employees to safety before the massive forces hit the building.
It’s a representation that many employees don’t recognize. Amazon has always been criticized for the way it treats employees.
Among other things, warehouse workers are not allowed to bring the phone to work. During the worst periods of Corona, this rule has been relaxed. But now it has been reintroduced.
Thus, those who were at work did not receive updated warnings about tornadoes approaching the city. He writes that those trapped in the collapsed building were unable to contact emergency services either Bloomberg.
After the weekend tragedy, employees are speaking again to remove the mobile phone ban. One employee told the news agency:
– To be perfectly honest, I don’t trust them when it comes to my safety. If there is a dangerous storm coming towards us, I feel I should have the opportunity to reflect on my safety.
Amazon is responding to the criticism by saying that they are now “more interested in helping the brave in emergency services, and supporting affected employees and their loved ones.”
Things flew everywhere
It felt like the earth came down from the earth, says Alonzo Harris New York times.
He’s the driver in the warehouse and he just stopped the car. Just after 20:00 local time, the alarm went off.
– I felt the wind and saw things flying everywhere. People started screaming, and then the light went off, he said.
Harris hid and escaped with 44 of his colleagues. It is common for large buildings in the US hurricane belt to have security rooms.
Six others were not so lucky. The pre-Christmas period is the busiest time of the year for Amazon, and there were plenty of them at work Friday night.
“I doubt that anything humans build can withstand the forces of nature,” Harris said.
– I think it was God who set up our safety room.
The new normal
Hurricanes are usually a problem in the summer. Now the head of the US crisis management directorate says the country must prepare for more severe storms. She told CNN:
– This will be the new normal. The impact we see from climate change will be the crisis of our generation. We will continue to work to reduce adverse effects. But we are also ready to help the communities experiencing these dangerous events.”
Pictures blew 20 miles
In several places, people are now finding images and other deep personal memories that appear miles from their homes. Saturday morning, Brad Hill was scheduled to move away from his house. In his garden there was something like garbage. It was a picture of an old lady and on the back it read “Ruby Tucker in August 1981”.
He thinks it’s something the neighbor has lost, said Hill Washington Post. But via a Facebook page, he reached out to Tucker’s grandson. The image was blasting 120 miles, or roughly 20 miles. This corresponds to the distance between Oslo and Lillehammer.
According to Professor John Knox of the University of Georgia, photos are usually the most popular after such disasters.
“They are like little wings when they go up,” he told the newspaper.
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