A powerful tornado roared through several villages in the southeast of the Czech Republic, killing four and injuring at least 100 people, rescuers say.
On Thursday, June 24, the storm carried the roofs of many buildings in the districts of Breclav and Hodonjin in the south of the country, uprooting trees and overturning cars.
The worst-hit places on eyewitness footage look like war zones.
The wind gusts were up to 220 kilometers per hour.
“This is living hell,” said the governor of the South Moravian region, Jan Grloic, after visiting the area.
Rescue teams are deployed across the country, as are those from Austria and Slovakia.
A spokeswoman for the rescue service of the South Moravian Region told Czech television that the medical services took care of 63 people, 10 of whom had serious injuries.
Dozens of other people sought medical help on their own, she added, and it is not excluded that there are more victims because rescuers are still searching the area.
The government said about 1,000 homes were affected and that local authorities were working to provide accommodation for people whose roofs had been destroyed.
The tornado destroyed at least a third of the village of Hruski, with 1,600 inhabitants, said local leader Marek Babis, local media reported.
Only 15 per cent of the facilities remained intact, he added.
“The church has no bell tower, the primary school is no longer isolated, and only the walls of what were houses remain,” he told Czech radio.
BREAKING: Tornado causes major damage in the Czech Republic pic.twitter.com/TdSm87Z4gG
— BNO News (@BNONews) June 24, 2021
The tornado and the city also hit the border town of Hodonjin, damaging the nursing home and destroying the local zoo.
The city was the size of a tennis ball.
The situation on the ground acts like a battlefield, said Antonin Tesazik, director of the hospital in Hodonjin, where about 200 injured are accommodated.
“It was an apocalypse. Blood on all sides and helpless people in tears.
“They lost their roof over their heads,” the CTK news agency quoted him as saying.
The tornado also caused several traffic disruptions and power outages, blocking entire highways and leaving more than 100,000 homes without electricity.
In a tweet, Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek described the situation as very serious, saying all available rescue units had been sent to the scene.
The minister, who arrived in the region affected by the storm, said that a state of emergency had been declared.
How common is tornadoes in Europe?
Explains BBC forecaster Ben Rich
Tornadoes are not as rare in Europe as you can imagine – it is estimated that several hundred of them touch the continent every year.
However, accurate estimates vary, and some are impossible to register because they affect sparsely populated rural areas.
Tornadoes have been observed on all continents on Earth except Antarctica, and even there they can theoretically occur.
Still, the United States records the highest number of tornadoes, with more than 1,000 a year on average.
This country also records the appearance of the most devastating tornadoes more than anywhere else in the world.
Their mountainous landscape and proximity to the warm and humid Gulf of Mexico provide perfect conditions for the formation of fierce supercellular storms.
And it is from these storms that a tornado is born.
Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.
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