Tornadoes devastate Kentucky, other US states; rescue efforts continue

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Kentucky and seven other states were hit by a series of tornadoes, leaving devastating stories on Sunday as rescuers continue to look for survivors in destroyed houses and buildings, ABC News reported.

The Kentucky church was lost to the disaster but Sunday services continued, only in the parking lot.

The tornadoes left at least 50 people dead, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, said. It was “the most devastating tornado in our state’s history,” as the death toll could even increase and surpass 100-mark.

“To the people of America, there is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage here in Graves County, or in Kentucky. Nothing that was standing in the direct line of this tornado is still standing,” he told a news conference on Sunday afternoon. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell were also present at the same briefing.

Since 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, none was retrieved alive, the governor said.

The string of tornadoes has affected 18 counties, he said, and left thousands of residences destroyed. Deaths in the four counties have exceeded two-digit numbers.

“I think the best that we can hope for would be the 50 (deaths). But I think it’s going to be significantly worse than that,” Beshear said. “Remember, we’re still finding bodies.”

The search efforts across the state are augmented by at least 300 state National Guard members.

In five states, the death toll has already reached 35, the Associated Press reported. Twenty-two of the deaths were recorded in Kentucky; 11 in Illinois, where an Amazon factory was hit; four in Tennessee; and two deaths each from Missouri and Arkansas. A nursing home in Arkansas was smashed by the disaster.

In an interview with ABC News, TriStar Greenview Regional Medical Center in Bowling Green’s emergency department physician Dr. Grant Fraser, said patients swarmed the 22-bed hospital after the disaster.

“They had severe, severe injuries — crush injuries to their head, chest, spinal injuries, multiple penetrating injuries,” the physician said. “So, there’s a combination of both tornado and flying objects penetrating people. Blunt force trauma, walls, ceilings that have fallen on people with severe crush injuries.”