At least 26 people are dead after powerful tornadoes tore through the Mississippi Delta Friday night, destroying homes and buildings, leveling entire communities and injuring dozens. Silver City, Rolling Fork, Winona and Amory are among the towns and communities that suffered direct impact.
“Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to change,” the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency cautioned in a tweet Saturday when the official death toll was 23. The agency shared the current figures at 6:26 a.m. Saturday, noting that at least four people are currently known to be missing after the storm.
Search-and-rescue teams continued looking for victims and those still trapped in rubble on Saturday morning as the supercell storm’s aftermath became apparent. Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital in Rolling Fork closed after suffering damage and losing electricity, forcing emergency workers to transfer some patients nearly an hour away for treatment.
“My city is gone. But we are resilient and we are going to come back, and we are going to come back strong,” Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker told CNN.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency for the affected area sometime before noon on Saturday.
“I’m devastated by the destruction and loss of life that these storms have caused,” the governor said in a statement. “The state of Mississippi will continue doing everything we can to marshal every resource available to support our fellow Mississippians who are in need. The state will be there to help them rebuild. We’re not going anywhere and we’re in it for the long haul. Please join me in praying for the family and friends of those who lost loved ones in this trying time.”
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said on Twitter that a FEMA Region IV Incident Management Assistance Team was also en route to the area.
“Volunteer Mississippi is asking private citizens not to self-deploy. They will work to match unaffiliated volunteers with affiliated groups on the ground when the time is right,” MEMA wrote. “If you would like to donate water or resources, the Rolling Fork Civic Center is open to receive them.”
The Rolling Fork Civic Center’s address, which MEMA did not provide, is 19719 Hwy 61 South, Rolling Fork, MS 39159.
Volunteer Mississippi says it will post “volunteer opportunities” on its website “as needs become apparent.”
This story has been updated to include the updated death toll.