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Deadly tornadoes pummel southern US, leaves 185 dead


A pack of powerful tornadoes ripped through several states across southern part of U.S. on Wednesday, leaving a scale of massive devastation never before seen in nearly four decades.

At least 185 people were confirmed dead and scores injured in the deadliest series of storms that ripped houses apart, uprooted trees and knocked down vital installations including power lines.

In the worst-hit state of Alabama, 128 people have died while 32 were reported killed in Mississippi, 10 in Georgia and 11 in Arakansas, according to officials.

Reports of casualties were also received from Louisiana and Tennessee as clusters of destructive tornadoes and storms rammed through communities from west to east.

The massive twisters claimed its worst devastation in Tuscaloosa country in west central Alabama where 15 people have died including students of the University of Alabama.

Jannie Ross, a Tuscaloosa resident narrated her harrowing ordeal which she and her family went through in the basement of their home as the tornado strucked and flattened their house.

“We could hear debris hitting the side of our house, glass breaking and the train sound often attributed to big storms such as these,” she said, adding that, “we could hear it destroying everything outside.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency for the state and directed the release of federal resources to deliver immediate aid to affected areas.

“Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastation and (we) stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama,” according to Obama in a message on Twitter.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley earlier had declared a state of emergency and ordered the deployment of about 2,000 National Guardsmen to assist in rescue operations.

“We’re in a search and rescue mode. We’re making sure that those that may be out there that are trapped, that we have not found, we are trying to find them,” Bentley said.

The Governors of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee also declared states of emergencies in their respective states to speed up search and rescue as well as relief efforts.

Jon Mills

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