At least 23 people were killed and dozens more were injured powerful tornadoes in eastern Alabama on Sunday. Alabama Govt. Kay Ivey declared a statewide emergency and providing highest service to victims including medical. Death toll can rise and the exact number of injured till unknown.
Sheriff Jay Jones told though the situation is critical, rescue efforts had to stop until dawn due to the danger of searching in the dark. “The challenge is the sheer volume of the debris where all the homes were located,” he told,
County Coroner Bill Harris told, “this is a day of destruction for Lee County. We’ve never had a mass fatality situation, that I can remember, like this in my lifetime.”
President Donald Trump tweeted “to the great people of Alabama and surrounding areas: Please be careful and safe.” He also said “to the families of the victims, and to the injured. God bless you all!”
Several people were transported to East Alabama Medical Center with serious injuries, Jones said. Authorities were prioritizing search and rescue efforts on Sunday evening, but were hampered by the dwindling light, he said.
Opelika Fire Chief Byron Prather said several homes had been destroyed, creating serious fire hazards as propane leaked from damaged tanks.
East Alabama Medical Center said it had received more than 40 patients as a result of the tornado and more were expected. The county coroner, Bill Harris, said none of the victims had been formally identified yet but believed the youngest victim was six.
The US says there are about 4,000 customers without power across Alabama, with about 2,000 of those in Lee County.
The National Weather Service said The tornadoes touched down amid a severe weather outbreak across the Southeast, according to the National Weather Service.
“It’s a widespread storm,” Brian Hastings, director of the Alabama Management Agency, said in an interview with WSFA, who said state EMA and transportation officials were already in Lee County to respond.