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US tornadoes: Seven family members among 23 killed

IANS | March 06, 2019 11:25 AM

WASHINGTON: Seven members of a family were among the 23 victims identified after an outbreak of tornadoes devastated the US state of Alabama, officials said.

Every victim, including four children, was found close to their homes, rescue crews said. The victims range in age from six to 89, Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told a news conference.

Up to eight persons remain missing, officials said, and there are fears the death toll could rise, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

"We believe that every victim was in the residence when it hit. They all ended up, with the exception of two, outside the residence," Harris told reporters.

He added that one survivor lost seven members of his family, and warned that he may be facing "financial issues" because of multiple funeral costs.

"They are going to have seven funerals that they have to finance somehow," he said.

However, donors have been reaching out to help the family with the expenses, he further said.

The tornadoes struck eastern Alabama on Sunday, levelling homes and carving a path of at least 0.8 km wide in some parts of the state.

Temperatures dropped below freezing on Tuesday as volunteer crews sorted through debris, looking for survivors and bodies.

On Monday, weather officials upgraded the fatal twister that hit Lee County to EF-4 with wind speeds of 275 kmph.

At least 50 people were injured and numerous homes and businesses were reduced to rubble as multiple tornadoes touched down in south-east Alabama and Georgia.

US President Donald Trump plans to visit the region on Friday.

"It's been a tragic situation, but a lot of good work is being done," he told reporters at the White House.

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