Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Deadliest tornado in US history claims 116

Damaged vehicles litter the parking lot of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Mo, after a tornado hit the southwest Missouri city on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

JOPLIN (Missouri) - RESCUE crews clawed through rubble searching for survivors on Monday in the wake of what is sure to be the deadliest single tornado to strike the United States in modern history.

The massive twister cut a swath of destruction 6.4km long and more than a kilometre wide through the Missouri town of Joplin. At least 116 people were killed, but officials warned the toll was sure to rise given the breadth of the destruction.

'There are going to be some things out there that are going to be hard to see and stomach,' Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said as he asked people to pray for those affected and those searching the wreckage.

'We remain positive and optimistic that there are lives out there to be saved. We're going to go through every foot of this town and make sure that every person is accounted for,' Mr Nixon told reporters.

Some 1,150 wounded people were treated in area hospitals, The Joplin Globe reported. Flames and smoke from broken gas lines shot up through the wreckage as block after block of homes and businesses were reduced to rubble and cars were tossed so violently that they turned into crumpled heaps of metal.

Heavy rain, lightning and strong winds hampered relief efforts while hundreds of exhausted rescue workers carefully picked their way through the rubble with the help of sniffer dogs. Disaster struck on Sunday evening when, with little warning, the monster twister packing winds of up to 320kmh tore through the centre of town. -- AFP

No comments: