Rescuers said at least three people were killed and dozens injured after a rare cyclone flattened homes in the southeastern Czech Republic last night.
«Unfortunately, we were unable to help three patients,» local emergency service spokeswoman Hedvika Krupakova told AFP.
It added that 63 injured were taken to hospital, 10 of them seriously.
«But there will be more because now we are transporting people who were injured at night and they called us later,» Krupakova added. Rescuers are still searching under the rubble in some places.
Austrian and Slovak rescuers assisted and the Czech army was deployed to the area.
Hurricane and hail the size of tennis balls hit many towns and villages Including Hodonin, where, in addition to causing casualties, extreme weather destroyed the nursing home and the local zoo.
The cyclone also caused widespread power outages and traffic disruptions, as falling power lines closed a major highway linking Prague with the Slovak capital Bratislava.
A total of 78,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity this morning.
Video footage from the area on social media showed destroyed buildings and cars, cut logs and several fires with thick black smoke.
«It’s a living hell,» said district governor Jan Gruelich after visiting the area.
The Czech news agency quoted the mayor of Hruski as saying that half of his village had been razed to the ground.
Storms in the Czech Republic forced Prime Minister Andrej Babis to stay in Brussels after the EU summit because a landing in Prague would have been too dangerous.
In neighboring Poland, a cyclone hit the southern Malopolska region yesterday, damaging rooftops and injuring one person, according to local media.
Tornadoes are rare in the Czech Republic, with the most recent dating back to 2004 when about 50 homes were damaged in the eastern town of Letoville.
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