MONTEVIDEO – The tornado that struck the southwestern Uruguayan city of Dolores has left at least four dead and seven seriously injured, the head of the Sinae emergency management office told EFE, while the media says 12 people have been reported missing.
Thunderstorms and heavy rain across 11 of Uruguay’s 19 provinces also are blamed for another death, while one other person is listed as missing and two as seriously injured.
The tornado struck at 4:30 p.m. Friday and caused major damage in Dolores, a city located around 260 kilometers (160 miles) from Montevideo that is home to more than 20,000 inhabitants.
Numerous houses and buildings were reduced to rubble and vehicles were destroyed, firefighters told EFE.
Two of those killed by the twister were hit by vehicles hurled through the air by the powerful winds.
The seven individuals listed as seriously injured include two children who were rushed to Montevideo for treatment, while the five others are in stable condition.
More than 200 people were injured by the tornado, according to the local press, which said 12 individuals who were presumably trapped amid the rubble of collapsed structures have been reported missing.
“The city is totally destroyed. The tornado started on the south side and went directly to the center. The panorama is bleak,” one resident told Canal 10 television.