Mississippi relief effort may face more destruction

STORY: Disaster relief efforts are pouring into Mississippi and Alabama, grappling with the 170-mile trail of destruction there.

And tales of survival that defy the odds are emerging.

"It destroyed everything."

Johnny Carither lives in Silver City, Mississippi, one of the string of towns hit by the rare and powerful tornado on Friday.

At least two dozen people have been killed, hundreds of buildings leveled, 26,000 are without power, and weather forecasters say more severe weather -- including the possibility of more tornados - may be coming.

CARITHER: "I got in the chair behind that corner there, and my wife and mother-in-law and dogs in the hall there, and I got a big door and put it over that. The glass started flying through this way and I had my back against that door trying to hold it. And then all of a sudden, it turned away from that door and went straight through that-a-way. And then the top flew off. And that's about it. It lasted about 15 minutes."

JARRETT BROWN: In some of of these areas, there was no safe spot to go to.

Reuters spoke to Jarrett Brown, an army veteran and now volunteer leader for a disaster response organization called Team Rubicon. He was in Selma, Alabama helping recovery efforts and is now in Rolling Fork, believed to be the worst hit town.

Many of the residents here are facing an uncertain future now. It has population of 1,900 and, according to census data, about a fifth are below the poverty line.

BROWN: "This was a garage, but this one had its roof completely ripped off."

"It was 18, 20 seconds. One of the homeowners said they finally woke up, and they looked up, and they thought they were dead. And they were like, 'I don't see the clouds of heaven, and then I looked down, and I didn't see the fires of hell. So, from right there, I knew I wasn't dead.' But it is that quick."

President Biden has approved a federal state of emergency declaration for Mississippi, which will provide additional funding and aid to supplement local efforts.