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Heavy rains left dead and missing in Tennessee, southern United States | Photo: Reproduction / Twitter

At least 22 people have died and dozens more are missing due to heavy rains and flooding over the weekend in central Tennessee in the southern United States, local officials said. The greatest damage is concentrated around the town of Waverly, with just over 4,000 residents and located about 100 kilometers from Nashville.

“This is the most devastating disaster we have ever suffered in this region,” Buddy Frazier, the town’s mayor, told local broadcaster WKRN, noting that many residents are without electricity in their homes.

According to the National Weather Service, the region recorded the heaviest rainfall in 40 years on Saturday. There was 43cm of rain in less than 24 hours in Humphreys County, surpassing the daily record for rainfall in Tennessee by 8cm, according to the agency.

Flooding in rural areas of the state destroyed roads and telephone towers, leaving residents out of touch with their families amid the disaster. The rescue service carries out house-to-house searches for the missing.

Among the dead were two twin children who were taken from their father’s arms by water, according to family members, the Associated Press reported.

Today, authorities have stepped up rescue operations, with help from the National Guard, as an estimated 50 people may be missing. “Our priority is to help emergency services gain access to the site. We will continue to increase the number of forces deployed as the situation requires,” said Gen. Jeff Holmes, head of the State National Guard. , in a Twitter message.

US President Joe Biden has expressed his condolences to those who lost their lives in the floods. “We are in contact with the community and will offer all necessary help during this terrible time,” he said.