Rare tornado kills five people and injures hundreds more in the Czech Republic

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews  with AP
Tornados are rare in the Czech Republic
Tornados are rare in the Czech Republic   -  Copyright  Vaclav Salek/AP

At least five people have died and hundreds more injured after a rare tornado tore through a region in the southeastern Czech Republic.

The tornado was formed late on Thursday during a series of strong thunderstorms that hit the entire country.

Seven towns and villages have been badly damaged, with entire buildings turned into ruins and cars overturned.

Over 120,000 households were also left without electricity, rescue services and police said, and more than 40,000 households remained without power on Friday.

The storm is believed to be the most devastating twister in the Czech Republic's modern history.

Some 360 extra police officers were sent to the area together with the military. The rescuers from many parts of the country who came to help were joined by their counterparts from nearby Austria and Slovakia. They were using drones and helicopters to search the rubble.

Police said at least five people were found dead, but regional government chief Jan Grolich said he would expect the death toll to rise.

"It’s a huge tragedy," Prime Minister Andrej Babis said from Brussels, where he was attending an EU summit.

"We as the government will do all we can to help the people because it's a real apocalypse," Babis stated, adding that was planning to visit the worst-hit region on Friday, where 2,000 buildings were damaged.

Marek Babisz, Deputy Mayor of Hrusky, told Czech public radio that half of his town was almost completely destroyed.

"The church is without the tower, the elementary school has no roof and insulation anymore, only walls remained from what were houses. It’s really terrible."