A tornado has struck along the Czech Republic’s southern border, destroying parts of some towns, killing at least five people and injuring hundreds more.
The tornado, which battered towns around Hodonin, along the Slovak and Austrian borders and 270km southeast of the capital Prague, may have reached wind speeds above 330km/h, a Czech television meteorologist said.
That would make it the strongest in the modern history of the central European nation, and its first tornado since 2018.
Strong storms ripped roofs off houses and other buildings, blew out windows, overturned cars and scattered debris through the streets.
Emergency services workers rested amid debris in the market town of Moravska Nova Ves, after working through the night.
An official of the South Moravia region’s ambulance service told Czech Television three people died in the storms, and dozens were treated for injuries.
Czech TV reported as many as seven small towns were “massively” damaged, citing an emergency services spokesperson.
An official of one municipality, Hrusky, said half the town was practically levelled to the ground.
Search and rescue teams fanned out in the area, with neighbouring Austria and Slovakia sending emergency units to help.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis cut short his attendance at the European Council summit in Brussels to visit the area where electricity and water remained shut off in a number of villages.
“The footage I saw is absolutely catastrophic,” said Mr Babis, who also toured damaged homes in Hrusky.
“We have offers of help from across Europe and many prime ministers have approached me to offer assistance.”