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Breaking News

Camilla, Georgia Mayor Discusses Damage Caused by Overnight Tornado

Aired February 14, 2000 - 8:01 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Severe storms hit middle Tennessee last night, including a neighborhood near downtown Nashville. A tornado touchdown has not been confirmed, but heavy winds blew out windows and knocked out power. A woman was hurt when a sign blew onto her car.

Tornadoes in Central Arkansas destroyed at least six homes and damaged several others. At least two injuries are reported, and power is out in several areas.

But right now, we're going to go back to South Georgia and the storm damage there.

Joining us by telephone with more is Mayor Jay Powell with the town of Camilla, Georgia.

Mr. Mayor, can you give us the latest situation in Camilla?

MAYOR JAY POWELL, CAMILLA, GEORGIA: Well, it's just -- the sun has just come up so we're a little bit better able to tell what we're dealing with, but we've had crews working throughout the night trying to get people from their homes and to assess the damage and to take the injured to the hospital. And I talked to the police chief not too long ago and he estimated that there might be somewhere between 20-27 dead, but it's unofficial at this point in time.

But we're trying to get the power, the utilities back on and search through the homes now that we've got light.

LIN: Mayor Powell, can you give us an idea of what the damage looks like in your area?

POWELL: Looks like a nuclear bomb went off. I went out and surveyed it just after daylight this morning and there are roofs missing, there are homes that have been flattened, there are mobile homes that have just absolutely been wrapped around trees, duplexes that have been -- every size and shape of house has been damaged or destroyed.

LIN: Are you talking about dozens of homes or hundreds of homes?

POWELL: Well, in one area where the tornado came through, there are about 200 mobile homes and there are very few of them that are still there. LIN: Are you still having power outages in your area? And if so, how is that making the search for victims more difficult?

POWELL: Well, there are power outages, but that doesn't affect the search for victims. But we will have all the power back on shortly, I think, except for just isolated areas.

LIN: What is your top priority right now? What is it that you need that'll make your job easier?

POWELL: I think probably just -- we have got plenty of help. We've had cities and counties from all over the surrounding area that had started calling and pouring in. The state patrol sent just as many people as we needed. And a lot of it is, right now, just coordination because we have got a lot of help. The governor is, I think, flying in later on this morning to survey the damage and to see what the state can do to help. And so we've got a lot of assistance. We've got a lot of people who are offering to help, and it's just a matter of putting everybody where they need to be.

LIN: All right, Mayor Jay Powell, you also have our best thoughts and prayers with you today. Good luck.

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