6 tornadoes flatten New Orleans in US, 31 injured in the natural disaster | world-news | Hindustan Times
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6 tornadoes flatten New Orleans in US, 31 injured in the natural disaster

world Updated: Feb 08, 2017 23:41 IST
New Orleans

Solomon Singleton looks at the damage from the second story of a friend's home a day after a tornado touched down in eastern New Orleans, on February 8, 2017. (AP Photo)

Thirty-one people were reported injured after six tornadoes tore through New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, pounding across highways and streets and leaving trees, power lines and homes levelled by Wednesday morning.

Federal and state damage assessment teams on Wednesday began working to see if Louisiana can qualify for federal assistance, Mike Steele, communications director for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said.

Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency throughout Louisiana, as search and rescue teams scoured the landscape for survivors from Tuesday’s tornadoes.

“The width of the devastation was unlike any that I have seen before,” Edwards told a news conference on Tuesday. “When you see it from the air you’re even more impressed that so few people were injured and that nobody’s life was lost.”

The storm system battered New Orleans and suburban Baton Rouge, marking the fourth time in a year the state has been jolted by natural disasters.

Gregory Rugon climbs out of his home after failing to find his glasses that he lost taking cover after a tornado hit his Warren Drive home, in the New Orleans East section of New Orleans, on February 7, 2017. (AP)

A string of tornadoes struck in February 2016 and four people died in widespread floods in March. Louisiana was then devastated by major flooding in August, when more than 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in 20 parishes, or territorial districts, marking the state’s worst disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

One twister carved out a swath of destruction about 3 km-long and about 1 km-wide, affecting an area with 5,000 properties, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

“It’s devastating and a lot of families have lost everything that they have,” Landrieu said.

Thirty-one injuries have been reported, according to the mayor’s office. Six of them were moderate or severe injuries, and there have been no reported fatalities, the office said in a statement.

Destroyed and damaged homes are seen in this aerial photo after a tornado tore through the eastern neighborhood in New Orleans, on February 7, 2017. (AP)

At least 8,100 customers were without power in the New Orleans area by early Wednesday, according to Entergy New Orleans Inc. About 150 workers from the energy company assisted in recovery efforts on Wednesday.

Nancy Malone, communications director for the Red Cross of Louisiana, said damage was reported in about six parishes, where the Red Cross was assisting first responders.

“While this was not expected, communities in southeast Louisiana have been affected numerous times in the last 12 months,” Malone said. “Here we are again.”