News / USA

Obama to Visit Alabama; Death Toll from Storms Rise Above 300

This is an aerial view of damage to downtown Cullman, Alabama, after dozens of tornadoes ripped through the South, flattening homes and businesses and killing more than 200 people in six states in the deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years, April 28, 2011
This is an aerial view of damage to downtown Cullman, Alabama, after dozens of tornadoes ripped through the South, flattening homes and businesses and killing more than 200 people in six states in the deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years, April 28, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to the southeastern U.S. Friday to get a personal look at the devastation left behind by violent tornadoes and thunderstorms Wednesday that killed at least 305 people.

Obama will meet with local officials and residents in the town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where entire neighborhoods were destroyed and at least 36 people were killed, including two students at the University of Alabama.  

Alabama sustained the brunt of the devastation from Wednesday's storms.  About 2,000 National Guard soldiers have been deployed in the state to assist local emergency crews in the cleanup efforts.  Obama signed a declaration late Thursday declaring a disaster in the state, making federal funds available to help residents, businesses and local governments in the recovery.  

Earlier Thursday, Obama called the loss of life "heartbreaking," and described the aftermath as "nothing short of catastrophic."  He promised the federal government will do everything it can to help the region recover.

The death toll across the region includes 204 in Alabama alone, plus 34 people in Tennessee, 33 in Mississippi, 14 in Georgia and 12 in Arkansas.  The other fatalities were spread across Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky.  It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in the United States since 310 people were killed on April 3, 1974.

In some southern U.S. communities, the tornadoes flattened entire neighborhoods, left streets filled with debris, flipped over cars and knocked down trees and power lines, leaving an estimated 1 million people without power.

Emergency crews were searching through ruined homes and toppled trees for survivors. Some residents said they barely escaped the destructive winds by sheltering in bathtubs, closets and basements.

Forecasters received reports of at least 160 tornadoes hitting the region by Wednesday night, some of them thought to be as wide as 1.6 kilometers.

The tornadoes were the second in a wave of severe weather to affect the southern United States this month.  A series of storms in early April killed at least 45 people in the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid