Midwest tallies damage

Search and rescue was ending on Monday in tornado-stricken Indiana and Kentucky.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | November 7, 2005

Search and rescue was ending on Monday in tornado-stricken Indiana and Kentucky. Twenty-two people are dead, with more than 100 injured.

Residents were not yet allowed back in their homes on Monday, and churches opened their doors to house and care for tornado survivors.

Eighteen of the fatalities were in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park in Evansville, Ind., which was the hardest hit community when the twister roared through around 2 a.m. as people slept. The neighborhood was situated in a location extremely vulnerable to tornadoes - an open farm field where 350 mobile homes sat with no sheltering basements.

On Monday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels declared a state of emergency for the area and asked the federal government for disaster assistance.

The tornado first touched down near a horse racing track outside Henderson, Ky., then crossed the Ohio River into Indiana.

In Kentucky, faith-based disaster responders reported that Munfordville was hard hit. Some estimates there indicated up to 30 businesses were destroyed and 100 homes were demolished.

The twister was Indiana's deadliest in more than two decades, and is also the deadliest U.S. tornado of 2005. Indiana emergency officials said that siren warning systems were activated but residents said they failed to hear them. One local fire official said the sirens aren't designed to wake people up.

Several teams of hazard researchers have argued that, if U.S. emergency management officials want to reduce the death rate from tornadoes, they will have to provide improved neighborhood planning that reduces vulnerability. Currently, researchers have found, families with few resources continue to live in some of the most tornado-prone locations.

In the U.S., the tornado death rate for people living in mobile homes is 20 times that of a permanent home dweller.

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