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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid