Biden tours Mississippi tornado wreckage as more storms threaten US

US President Joe Biden has toured the wreckage of a major storm that hit Mississippi last week, as large swathes of the United States braced for more extreme weather, including tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

Speaking from the hard-hit Mississippi community of Rolling Fork, Biden said on Friday that the federal government would cover for 30 days the full cost of the state’s emergency measures in response to the storm on March 24.Twenty-five people were killed in Mississippi by the extreme weather, which resulted in at least one tornado that tore across portions of the state. One person was killed in neighbouring Alabama.

“Three minutes – in three minutes this neighbourhood was basically gone … Everything gone,” Biden said in front of a destroyed structure in Rolling Fork, a town of about 1,900 residents in western Mississippi where 13 people died.“Three hundred homes and businesses are nothing more than piles of twisted materials,” he said. “Mixed up with personal items that mattered so much. Teddy Bears, family albums, clothes, dishes, basics of life all gone.”

Biden declared a state of emergency in Mississippi last Sunday, ordering federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the affected areas.

The assistance can go to helping residents rebuild their homes and access temporary housing, among other measures, the White House said.

Speaking on Friday during Biden’s visit, Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker said, “What has been lost cannot be recovered.‘Significant damage’ in Arkansas
The promises to rebuild in Mississippi came as meteorologists warned millions of people to brace for massive storms brewing over at least 15 states in the Midwest and southern US on Friday.The weather threatened to bring tornadoes, blizzards and freezing rain to a vast section of the country, including areas affected by last week’s storm.

More than 85 million people were under weather advisories on Friday as the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center forecast an unusually large outbreak of thunderstorms with the potential to cause hail, damaging wind gusts and strong tornadoes that could move for long distances over the ground.A fierce tornado blasted through Little Rock, the Arkansas state capital, ripping away roofs and walls from many buildings, uprooting trees, flipping over vehicles and leaving hundreds of people injured, according to media reports.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences declared a mass-casualty event after a “catastrophic” tornado hit the city, a CBS affiliate reported on Friday, adding hundreds of people were injured.

Aerial footage posted by The Weather Channel showed a heavily damaged area of Little Rock spanning several blocks with numerous homes missing roofs and walls, some of them collapsed, and overturned vehicles littering streets.

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