US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill visited the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, which was devastated by severe tornadoes, and pledged support to the people. “You are not alone,” Biden said amid the rubble of destroyed homes and uprooted trees. “The American people will stand by you. They will help you get through here – and so will I,” Biden promised.

During the visit, the Biden couple got an idea of ​​​​the destruction in the 2,000-inhabitant community and met, among other things, the mayor of the city and affected residents. The President announced Monday the opening of a local disaster center where affected residents could seek help.

Violent storms hit parts of Mississippi a week ago. At least 26 people were killed there and in the neighboring state of Alabama. The tornado caused devastation in the cities of Silver City and Rolling Fork near Jackson, Mississippi. Roofs were torn from houses, trees were uprooted and power lines damaged. Biden declared Mississippi a state of emergency over the weekend to release federal funds for reconstruction.

A tornado hit the ground in Rolling Fork around 8 p.m. Friday a week ago, the National Weather Service’s Lance Perrilloux told NPR. He then left a path of destruction over a distance of more than 270 kilometers within a good hour. “This is one of the rarer tornadoes that we’ve seen in Mississippi history based on longevity and strength over a period of time,” Perrilloux said.

Because Mississippi is considered the poorest state in the USA, such catastrophes hit the people there particularly hard. The reconstruction could drag on for many years. Around 2,000 people have lived in the almost completely destroyed small town of Rolling Fork – many of them in converted caravans. A large part of the population lives below the country’s poverty line.