PRAGUE (AFP) – At least three people died and dozens were injured after a rare tornado razed houses in the Czech Republic’s southeast, rescuers said yesterday as they combed rubble for more victims.
“It’s a living hell,” regional governor Jan Grolich said yesterday after seeing the overwhelming destruction caused by the twister.
Local emergency services spokeswoman Hedvika Kropackova told AFP that rescuers “could not help three patients” but that 63 injured people had been taken to hospital, 10 of them in serious condition.
“There will be more,” she added, noting that more injured people were calling for help yesterday.
Firefighters and a special rescue team were searching yesterday morning for potential casualties under the debris from the freak weather.
Austrian and Slovak rescuers were helping out and the Czech army was deployed in the region.
The tornado and hail the size of tennis balls struck several towns and villages including Hodonin, where in addition to causing injuries the extreme weather destroyed a retirement home and the local zoo.
“We’re moving the retirement home residents to a city hotel,” the city of Hodonin said on Facebook.
The tornado also caused extensive power outages and traffic disruptions, with fallen power lines closing a major motorway connecting Prague with the Slovak capital Bratislava.
A total of 78,000 households and companies were left without power yesterday morning.
Video footage from the region on social networks showed destroyed buildings and cars, shorn tree stumps and several fires with thick black smoke.