A deadly tornado in Uruguay has left four people dead and more than 200 injured in the southwestern city of Dolores. A state of emergency has been declared in Soriano, which sits on the border with Argentina, after the violent twister struck at around 4pm local time on Friday, 15 April.
Dolores was the worst hit area. The city's 20,000 residents are picking up the pieces after around 400 buildings were destroyed. Footage showing the tornado tearing through the town shows building debris and glass scattered through the streets and upturned cars.
The Uruguayan government declared a state of emergency in the province and the National Institute of Meteorology has issued an orange warning for today (16 April). The warning states that storms are expected in 11 southern provinces including Soriano, Rocha, Colonia and the capital city Montevideo.
In spite of the life-changing damage done to the town National Party senator and former Soriano Mayor Guillermo Besozzi said that people have been arrested for looting buildings following the disaster.
It has been reported that there are widespread power cuts across the city and a number of people are still missing. Following the storm, two children, both in serious conditions, were transferred to a hospital in Montevideo.
"There are businesses in the centre of the city, completely destroyed. Schools, churches destroyed. This is something never seen before. This is something out of the normal for our country," Besozzi told El Pais.
Mariela Umpiérrez, a resident of Dolores, told CNN that her house and car was damaged in the twister. "The images seems taken out of a movie, but not from reality," she said.
The Uruguay government pledged to send emergency help to the affected areas. The Uruguayan Army and specialised rescue teams have all been sent to help out in the area.
Fire department spokeswoman Mariela Vivone has said that two of the dead were killed by flying cars carried by the strong winds. According to The Weather Channel severe weather expert, Dr Greg Forbes, Uruguay does not see many tornadoes with averages being one tornado per 10,000 square miles every five years.