US tornado death toll surpasses 360
Sat, 30 Apr 2011 12:38:23 GMT
The death toll from tornadoes in the southern United States continues to rise with 361people confirmed dead, in what is the second deadliest tornado-related disaster in US history.
More than 200 storms hit southern states on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Alabama suffering the most devastation, AFP reported.
Two-hundred fifty-four people were reportedly killed in Alabama during Wednesday's deadly storms, which also injured 1,730 people, the state Emergency Management Agency reported. Another eight have gone missing.
In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, police have imposed a curfew with the help of the National Guard to discourage looters from stealing what is left of victims' property.
As many as one million homes and businesses are still without power. Electricity could take several days to be restored.
"I've never seen devastation like this. It is heartbreaking," President Barack Obama said in Tuscaloosa on Friday after meeting with victims of the storms.
He also pledged "maximum federal help" for damaged property and recovery costs. Recovery costs have been estimated to be in the billions.
Casualties in other states include 34 dead in Tennessee, 34 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, 14 in Arkansas, 2 in Louisiana, 2 in Missouri and one in Kentucky.
In Virginia, authorities reduced the initially death toll from 10 to 5.
Soldiers and emergency teams are still searching for more bodies and survivors. Approximately 2,000 troops have been called on to assist the National Guard with rescue and clean-up operations.
The worst tornado outbreak to hit the United States was in March 1925 when 747 people died.