New York Daily News
‘There’s nothing left’
Pain in tornado-wracked Mississippi as Joe vows federal aid
Mississippi can receive federal aid following a catastrophic tornado that killed more than two dozen people and left behind massive destruction late last week, President Biden announced in an emergency declaration Sunday.
The counties of Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey are eligible for federal support such as home repairs and temporary housing for victims.
“Jill and I are praying for those who have lost loved ones in the devastating tornadoes in Mississippi and for those whose loved ones are missing,” Biden said in an earlier statement over the weekend.
“The images from across Mississippi are heartbreaking. While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know that many of our fellow Americans are not only grieving for family and friends, they’ve lost their homes and businesses.”
Twenty-five people are confirmed dead in Mississippi and around 2,000 homes sustained damage from the tornado that devastated multiple towns along the Mississippi Delta on Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. More than 50 others were injured, officials said.
“There’s nothing left,” said Wonder Bolden, whose mother’s mobile home in Rolling Fork, Miss., was destroyed. “There’s just the breeze that’s running, going through — just nothing.”
Authorities say a man in Alabama died after his trailer home flipped multiple times in the storm.
The tornado traveled 59 miles in an hour and 10 minutes and received an initial EF-4 rating, indicating it recorded winds between 166 mph and 200 mph, the National Weather Service said.
“We’ll have more details in the coming days,” the weather service said late Saturday. “To reiterate, this information remains preliminary as we continue to process and receive additional information. We apologize that this process takes so much time, and we appreciate your patience.”
Biden’s federal declaration followed a state of emergency announcement from Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who spoke with the president after the storm.
“To those impacted by these devastating storms, and to the first responders and emergency personnel working to help their fellow Americans: we will do everything we can to help,” Biden said in his original statement. “We will be there as long as it takes. We will work together to deliver the support you need to recover.”
One nearby resident compared the destruction in Rolling Fork, which is home to about 2,000 people, with a bomb going off.
“How anybody survived is unknown by me,” said Rodney Porter, who lives 20 miles south of the town. “Houses are gone, houses stacked on top of houses with vehicles on top of that.”
Another tornado touched down Sunday in Troup County, Ga., about 70 miles southwest of Atlanta. Five people in the state suffered minor injuries and more than 100 buildings were damaged, officials said.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency. “As we continue to monitor the weather and work with local partners to address damage throughout the day, I ask all Georgians to join us in praying for those impacted,” he said in a statement.
The Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, Ga., reported significant damage during Sunday’s stormy weather, saying a pair of tigers escaped as a result.
“Several animal enclosures were [breached], and two tigers briefly escaped,” the park wrote on Facebook. “Both have now been found, tranquilized, and safely returned to a secure enclosure.”