U.S. President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden on Sunday issued an emergency declaration for the state of Mississippi after the destruction wreaked by deadly tornadoes and severe storms.
At least 25 people were killed and dozens more injured as powerful tornadoes and storms ripped through Mississippi on Friday night. One more person was killed in the neighboring state of Alabama.
A White House statement said Biden’s decision will make “federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, and Sharkey.”
The four counties were the worst-hit areas and account for all of the fatalities reported, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Biden has appointed John Boyle, coordinating officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to “coordinate federal recovery operations in the affected areas,” the statement said.
“Damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed,” it added.
- ‘The house broke apart on top of us’
In Rolling Fork, a small town of some 2,000 people, the tornado devoured all that lay in its path.
Almost every building in the town was either flattened or broken, trees uprooted, cars crushed, and infrastructure damaged.
Sammy Jackson, a resident, was in his house when it was swept up by the twister.
“All of a sudden there was a big explosion. It picked us up in the air, threw us against the wall. A lot of debris was hitting us,” he told Anadolu, sitting on piles of rubble that were once his home.
“Then it picked the house up and threw it down. The house just broke apart on top of us. We were all stuck under the debris.”
Jackson managed to free himself and pull out his grandson, daughter and another family member.
“This was something I hope I never experience again,” he said.
“The only good thing is that I am alive. We lost a lot of people here … Material things don’t mean anything to me. I’m just glad to be here and I thank God for that.”
Apart from the death and destruction, the disaster has also caused power breakdowns in Mississippi and other nearby states, leaving thousands of people without electricity, according to poweroutage.us.