A rare tornado tore through South Moravia, killing at least three people and injuring hundreds, rescue services said on Friday.
The tornado formed late Thursday as strong thunderstorms 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 without electricity.
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.
The regional rescue service said at least three people have died.
“It´s a huge tragedy,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said. Babis was in Brussels to attend an EU summit and was planning to visit the damage-hit region on Friday.
“The church is without the tower, the elementary school has no roof and insulation anymore, only walls remained from what were houses. There´re injured, it´s really terrible,” said Marek Babisz, deputy mayor of Hrusky.
“It’s a living hell,” said South Moravia regional governor Jan Grolich on Thursday after visiting the area.
Interior minister Jan Hamacek said, “all available rescue units are in action or moving to the Hodonin region, where several municipalities have been hit by a tornado.”
The tornado also caused extensive power outages and traffic disruption, with fallen power lines closing a major motorway connecting Prague with Bratislava.