Videos. At least 83 dead in tornadoes in the United States, “an unimaginable tragedy”

US President Joe Biden lamented “one of the worst series of tornadoes” in US history, calling their devastation “an unimaginable tragedy”.

Collapse of an Amazon warehouse

In Illinois, at least six people died in the collapse of an Amazon warehouse, announced the fire chief of Edwardsville, who specified that the rescue operations were over, now giving way to operations of body recovery. The announcement raises fears that the toll of this collapse will increase further during the three days that the operations are to last.

Much of the roof of the Amazon warehouse was torn off, while one of the walls collapsed in the building. “We are heartbroken by the loss of our colleagues there, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones,” Amazon boss Jeff Bezos tweeted.

The Amazon hangar in Edwardsville, Illinois, where employees were trapped


Up to a hundred employees of the distribution giant worked at night to process orders before the holiday season.

The epicenter in Kentucky

Tennessee has recorded four deaths, two people died in Arkansas, while at least one death is to be deplored in Missouri.

But it is Kentucky, in the center-east of the country, which pays the heaviest price after the passage of this violent weather phenomenon particularly affecting the immense American plains. After announcing “at least 70 dead” in his state, Governor Andy Beshear said that “by the end of the day or tomorrow”, the toll would rise to more than 100 deaths, even specifying to expect that that “the figure is rising considerably”. He called on residents to donate blood to treat the wounded.

« Ground zero »

“It’s indescribable, the level of devastation is unmatched to anything I’ve ever seen,” he added. specified the chosen one. Mayfield, a town of 10,000, appears to have been at the epicenter of the disaster. The heart of the city looks “like a pile of matches,” said Mayor Kathy O’Nan on CNN. “The churches in the center were destroyed, and the courthouse in the heart of the city was destroyed. »

A street in Mayfield, Kentucky, this Saturday

A street in Mayfield, Kentucky, this Saturday

Brett Carlsen/AFP

“The city has suffered the hardest blows. The devastation there is massive, ”said Michael Dossett, a local relief official, interviewed on CNN. He referred to a “ground zero”, an expression used to describe the ruins of the World Trade Center after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York.

“Like a bomb”

“It’s as if a bomb had exploded in our neighborhood,” said Alex Goodman, a resident of Mayfield after a harrowing night in the dark and in anguish. The people of Mayfield were proud of the buildings that gave historic character to their small town. “They are all destroyed,” she laments. Across the city, buildings were ripped open, metal twisted, vehicles overturned, and trees and bricks strewn across the streets.

Employees of a candle factory were trapped there after the roof gave way under the strong winds. We were still without news of dozens of employees out of the hundred present. No one had been able to come out alive from the rubble since the morning, raising fears there too of a very heavy toll. Governor Andy Beshear even spoke of a “miracle” if survivors were now found.

“At first, you could just hear the rain. And then, suddenly, there was a very loud noise, like that of a train,” Lori Wooton, a resident of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, told CNN. “It didn’t seem like it lasted long… three or four seconds and it was gone. But then we went out to see and the damage was unimaginable,” she continued.

Over a large swath of American territory, the night was terrible. “We had an alert at 9:30 a.m., we were told that the tornado was coming. It came and went like that, all of a sudden, ”said David Norseworthy, 69, in front of the destroyed porch of his house. “We have never seen anything like it in the area. Where it strikes, it demolishes everything”.

Federal disaster response agencies have already begun to be deployed on the spot, said Joe Biden, who promised that “the federal state would do everything it can to help”.

More than 400 km

The American chains filmed the passage of the tornadoes: black columns sweeping the ground, illuminated by intermittent flashes. About 30 of these storms swept through the United States on Friday night and Saturday morning. One of the tornadoes traveled more than 400 km, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), while on average these do not exceed more than 6 km in distance.

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