Several fatalities and hundreds injured as tornado devastates South Moravia

Rescue teams are still searching the ruins of the numerous destroyed buildings and homes in the districts of Břeclav and Hodonín.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 25.06.2021 08:33 (updated on 25.06.2021) Time to read: 3 minutes

Prague, June 25 (CTK) - Three people are dead and dozens more were injured in the aftermath of a devastating tornado and hail storm that hit South Moravia on Thursday night, medical rescue service spokeswoman Michaela Bothová told Czech Television this morning.

A thunderstorm with hailstones the size of tennis balls hit mainly the South Moravian districts of Břeclav and Hodonín, destroying homes, vehicles, and snapping trees in half.

Rescuers transferred over 60 people to the hospital, including ten severely injured, Bothová said. "We failed to save three patients' lives," she added.

Dozens of others were treated by rescuers at the scene of the disaster. Other people sought medical attention in the hospital on their own without being treated by EMTs, Bothová said.

She said further cases of injured or dead cannot be ruled out, as rescue teams continue searching the ruins of the numerous destroyed buildings and homes.

The villages worst hit by the extreme thunderstorm which was accompanied by a tornado are Moravská Nová Ves, Lužice, Hrušky, and Mikulčice.

Dozens of vehicles with injured people arrived at Hodonín hospital late on Thursday night. Injuries included serious bruises, open fractures, and head injuries. The scene was described by medical workers as resembling a battlefield.

Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told ČTK that a state of emergency was declared for the Břeclav and Hodonín districts around midnight, allowing for rapid steps to be taken by the crisis staff.

Some villages were isolated from rescuers due to blocked roads and had to be evacuated from their homes. As of this morning more than 40,000 households or offices in South Moravia are without electricity.

Over 100 firefighting units, assisted by dog handlers and heavy equipment, continue their search for survivors in the ruins of the municipalities around Hodonín, Jaroslav Mikoška, a spokesman for HZS Jihomoravského kraje, told reporters today.

At the moment, over 100 units are on the scene. The main activity lies in the search in all areas in order to find out what has actually happened. Based on the examination we can create a further plan for our activities," Mikoška added.

"The injuries were mainly dealt with during the night, but we still have three municipalities where the search continues in buildings where some injured may be. These are Moravská Nová Ves, Lužice, and Mikulčice," he said.

The regional office has established an info line to help locals.

A spokesperson from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI), confirmed to Czech Radio last night that the storm was definitely a tornado.

According to the CHMI, there are on average about five tornados a year in the Czech Republic. However, in some years there up to ten or fifteen tornados reported while in other years there are no tornadoes reported.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš described the natural disaster in the Hodonín and Břeclav regions as a huge tragedy. He intends to visit the area on Friday.

The Minister of Finance, Alena Schillerová, tweeted last night that the government will immediately release CZK 10 million in emergency aid.

How to support South Moravia as it recovers from the tornado

The public can donate to the victims of the tornado via the Darujme platform as well as the assistance endowment fund Znesnáze21. Donations can also be sent to the Diocesan Charity Brno via SMS. Non-profit ADRA is also accepting donations as is the Czech Red Cross

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