Washington, 23 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) — At least 16 people died in flash flooding in the southern US state of Tennessee and many more were missing, officials said on Sunday afternoon.
From 22 to 43 centimeters of rain fell across an area of middle Tennessee within a 6-hour period on Saturday morning and another round of severe weather impacted the same area Saturday night, according to authorities.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee told journalists in a press conference that the situation in Humphreys County, especially in Waverly, some 100 kilometers west of state capital Nashville, was “very tragic and difficult.”
“There has been a record number of inches of rainfall … that created devastating flooding in this community, tremendous loss of life, a number of missing people on the ground, homes washed off their foundations … it is a devastating picture of loss and heartache,” Lee said after visiting the area.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Director Patrick Sheehan said that at least 16 people were confirmed dead by his agency, while local media cited Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis as saying that at least 22 lost their lives.
Sheenan told journalists that the death toll discrepancy was just “a matter of process.”
“We don’t get ahead of ourselves as we are making sure that we account for each Tennessean that is sadly perished or is missing,” Sheenan said.
“I would expect, given the number of fatalities we have seen so far that we are going to see mostly recovery efforts at this point,” the TEMA director added.
Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency in a Facebook post listed over 40 missing people, including two children.