Victims of the tornado in Kentucky: “My house, my business, I saw my whole life disappear in an instant” | International

Depois do tornado, calm chegou. Mayfield agreed this Sunday with a splendid winter sun on his face, as nature would hide from me with which I reached this city of 10,000 inhabitants on the western pont of Kentucky on the night of sixth-fair with excessive fury and capricious mercy. It is the zero mark for the devastation caused by a historic series of 30 tornadoes that hit rural areas of six states in the central and southern United States, causing more than 90 deaths.

But there was evidence of destruction: the sign of the Cruz Vermelha crooked in itself, a North American flag covered in a pile of metal that was once a van, a single-family house literally filled for the wind. Estrada, that Chevrolet more than two years old fifty that defies gravity in the rubble of an office… and a totally destroyed candle factory that has become the symbol of a natural catastrophe that left the nation in suspense. It is estimated that dozens of people died, it is not clear how many, since Saturday afternoon no survivors have been found. About 110 workers were inside at the time of the tragedy; They were working or shifts before the end of the week so that we could take care of all the orders from Natal.

Apart from Kentucky, five other states, Illinois (where six people lost their lives in an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville), Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri were affected by an unprecedented series of tornadoes. The number of deaths on Sunday reached more than 90 people, while the Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, feared that the number had exceeded cem. Beshear expressed concern that the necrotists of the region “will be small” in the face of the magnitude of the tragedy.

Nearly 53,000 of its municipalities, according to the, passaram or full weekend without energy since the energy network was seriously damaged. One of two tornadoes, “or strongest in the history of the United States”, said Beshear on a Sunday afternoon, paraded in his dark silhouette for almost 400 kilometers and devastated the center of Mayfield, to the church, or court, to the store of pneus and dozens of houses.

Before one of them, young Etelvina Aguilar did not know or choro logo pela manhã or was told what would happen two nights ago. Guatemalan, she came to the city four months ago, where she set up a company of Latin products. As the money was not enough, a family, with two small children, Morava did not second walk from the store. Na sexta-feira they will lose everything. “Houve other notices like this, more happily, I have a palpite and fiz as crianças caírem. We hide behind a column, which saved us. Foi questão of five minutes. Or baby cried without stopping. E now olha: miha casa, mi business, vi tudo sumir num instant”, she said before the mountain of entulho of her previous life. O casal no teve time to guarantee the property. “Therefore, we don’t have anything, just divide.”

Perto dali, on a black road, or chef CE Mines, 60 years old, patrolled, also with tears in our eyes, as the streets of the center. In the sexta-feira, he fell with his wife, who was not a doctor, when he had a terrible tremor. “We spent that night apart and finally we met. I do not posso dizer o memo para meus vizinhos. I have no way of knowing if they are alive. This community, so united, was decimated.”

A little later, Tommy Anderson, a 64-year-old engineer, moved wistfully among the wreckage of his private shipwreck. “I still don’t want to venture inside the house, but it doesn’t matter, because I didn’t have where to take or what survived, like our dear piano; There is no storage available in the area”, he explained before the house that he divided with his wife and his son’s family. Fortunately, everyone will be able to take refuge not porão.

Destroyed vehicles and debris on the streets of Mayfield, Kentucky, after tornadoes that will occur this sixth-fair.
Destroyed vehicles and debris on the streets of Mayfield, Kentucky, after tornadoes that will occur this sixth-fair.SCOTT OLSON (AFP)

Anderson managed to secure at least one motel near Mayfield, whose reservation he renews daily. Other survivors were sheltered by family and friends. Three formal shelters set up in an area and a local for families will provide evidence, such as personal objects, to identify loved ones whose traces are lost.

In the area of ​​the candle factory, I left a local cheio de entulho, rescue and forensic teams worked a few years. The access of vehicles was interrupted by various patrols of the Military Police. One of his agents asked the curious not to interfere in the location and identification of two bodies. “Ainda ha muito o que fazer lá.”

Even for those who survive and whose houses are reasonably dead, existence turns to hell in this sleepy city of Kentucky, whose slogan, “more than a memory”, hoje, painted on a white wall that miraculously remains dead , like a bad taste jumper. There is no electricity or seized water, police officer Sarah Burgess, with jurisdiction in 11 counties, five two that suffered or were impacted by the storms of Sexta-Feira, fears that none of the basic services will return. “Hair less tied or next weekend.” As it is not enough, the temperatures soared in Mayfield, which froze on Saturday night.

Two people hugged each other this Sunday in a devastated area of ​​Mayfield (Kentucky).
Two people hugged each other this Sunday in a devastated area of ​​Mayfield (Kentucky).BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (AFP)

Burgess explains that they are impressed with the number of people who will show up to help the survivors. People like the volunteers of the NGO Aerial Recovery, who arrived on the eve of Nashville, not seeing Tennessee, had to sleep inside their cars; chefs like Spanish chef José Andrés, who traveled from Washington on Saturday night to give free meals to those affected; or spontaneous like Bobby Truffen, who had gotten up and given way to take his walk ate aboard with food and drinks that he was offering to the crane operators who moved huge pieces of metal folded like paper. Nenhum deles, police, firefighters or volunteers, we have time to spare: the authorities decreed a collection call from or by the sun, certainly right this time of year, late or dawn.

Other visitors gathered at the Catalyst Church, where Father Justin Carrico ordered the transfer of donations: cereals, clothes, sucos and a pile of Bibles. At one of the tables in the makeshift shelter, in an older house, Tim and Jenny were sniffing intently for pizza from the café da manhã. At home, they don’t sweat much, but they don’t have water or electricity and spend the night “with all the clothes they wear to face the cold”. “I received a phone call from a man named Errol, who has a manager and allows people to take a bath at home,” Jenny whispers. “If you need a bathroom, tell me, but I didn’t know how to look around there.”

On the outskirts of Mayfield, dinners like this were repeated between the comings and goings of two members of the resgate forces, as tiredness stamped on no face. Many two who will lose their houses will spend their first night here, when the heat still does not diminish. “On the other hand, we are relocating to different places,” explains Billy Edwards, director of a center that teaches 530 students, not a basketball court center for the Mayfield Cardinals, which has now become a rescue center. In the absence of electricity, drama was added to the empty and dark stadium.

At noon, some vizinhos decided to celebrate a mass with cadeiras dobráveis ​​where it was dedicated to Igreja Batista de Yahweh. Among them, Arthur Bryn chorou called for the temple to be born that or tornado levou ele appeared at the wedding of his three rows. “I am 70 years old and I will always be here. The worst days of my life are for those who spent a long time in Mayfield. I tied now. Isso surpasses everything”, he said, hugging his wife.

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