Tornado kills at least 23 in US state of Alabama

Search operations for those still missing were halted on Sunday night due to hazardous conditions

A tornado tore through the southern US state of Alabama on Sunday, killing 23 people, uprooting trees and causing “catastrophic” damage to buildings and roads, a local sheriff said.

“Unfortunately our toll, as far as fatalities, does stand at 23 at the current time,” Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told the local news agencies, acknowledging that children were among the dead.

Search operations for those still missing were halted on Sunday night due to hazardous conditions, but Jones added they would resume on Monday morning.

A state-wide state of emergency is in operation, with resources from across the state pouring into the affected area. Drones with infrared capability are being used in an attempt to find survivors.

Rescue efforts were halted overnight because of the dangers associated with searching in the dark.

The destruction left by the storm travelling a quarter mile wide and stretched for several miles that it travelled on the ground causing mayhem and destruction in its path.

The tornadoes there struck at about 14:00 (20:00 GMT) on Sunday, carving a path at least a half a mile wide and at least a mile long.

Footage of the aftermath shows snapped communications poles, roads littered with debris and wrecked houses.

Still and video images showed trees that had been snapped in two, debris-strewn roads and wrecked houses in the wake of the storm.

More than 6,000 homes were left without power in Alabama, while 16,000 suffered outages in neighbouring Georgia.

More to update as it breaks.


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