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At least 16 dead and half a hundred missing left the heavy rains and floods recorded this weekend in the center of the state of Tennessee, state authorities reported on Sunday.
The greatest damage was concentrated on the town of Waverly, with a population of just over 4,000 and located about 100 kilometers east of Nashville.
“It’s the most devastating disaster we’ve had in this area,” Buddy Frazier, the town’s mayor, told local station WKRN, noting that many residents have been left without power.
According to the National Weather Service, the area recorded the heaviest rains in 40 years on Saturday.
On Sunday, the authorities accelerated rescue efforts, with the help of the National Guard, as an estimated 50 people are still missing.
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“Our priority is to assist emergency services to access the site (…) We will continue to increase the number of forces deployed as the situation demands,” said General Jeff Holmes, in charge of the National Guard in the state, in a message on Twitter.