At least six people have been killed in a warehouse collapse at e-commerce giant Amazon due to tornadoes that hit the central and southern United States, Edwardsville, Illinois, fire chief, where the building is, announced on Saturday.
“We have confirmed that 45 staff were able to leave the building, one of whom had to be airlifted to a local hospital for treatment, while six were killed,” Whiteford said in a statement. press conference.
The fire chief of the city of 25,000 inhabitants also clarified that the search and rescue operation ended earlier yesterday and that the search has now entered the phase of searching for corpses.
This announcement raises fears that the death toll from the collapse will increase further in the next twenty-four hours. The operation is expected to last three more days.
Much of the roof of the facility is missing; the walls inside the building collapsed.
An Amazon spokesperson told AFP he was “deeply saddened” by the news that “members of our family (including company staff) have lost their lives” as a result of the extreme weather conditions in Edwardsville.
“We continue to provide support to our employees and partners in the region,” she said.
The death toll from tornadoes and heavy rains in five US states has risen to at least 83. It is feared that it may exceed 100.
Biden approved Kentucky’s declaration of state of emergency
US President Joe Biden spoke of “one of the worst tornado series” in US history following devastation in five states.
“It’s a tragedy,” he said, “and we still don’t know how many lives were lost and the scale of the disaster,” as more than 78 people, including at least 70 in Kentucky , have already lost their lives.
Federal disaster response services have already started to develop on the ground, said Joe Biden, who pledged that “the federal state will do everything in its power to help.”
A state of emergency has already been declared in Kentucky, he said, and more could follow if the governors of the states affected by the disaster so request.
Joe Biden said he was planning to visit Kentucky, but stressed he didn’t want to be an “obstacle” to the rescue operations.
The American president also underlined that the meteorological phenomena are “very intense” with climate change, without mentioning a direct causal relationship between climate deregulation and the disaster that has grieved the country.