At least 150 injured as tornado strikes Czech Republic

A powerful tornado swept through several villages in the South Moravia region of the Czech Republic on Thursday, injuring at least 150 people and causing major damage, according to initial estimates.

There was serious damage in at least seven villages, with many homes destroyed, according to press statements from the South Moravia Fire Department.

Search and rescue activities are underway for those who remain trapped under collapsed buildings.

A crisis team will be formed for the area, where a large number of firefighters, ambulances and special teams were sent, said Interior Minister Jan Hamacek.

"The tornado destroyed half of our settlement. All that's left are the walls of the houses. It also blew off the roof of our church and school and toppled 100-year-old trees. The situation is terrible,” said Marek Babis, deputy mayor of Hrusky, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Experts pointed out that it was the strongest tornado in the country's history and may have reached F3-F4 levels.

Turkish truck driver also affected

A Turkish truck driver in the area was also injured by the tornado.

He had been contacted and taken to a nearby hospital and was in good health, Turkey's Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Egemen Bagis, told Anadolu Agency.

Bagis also said that a team from the embassy will travel to South Moravia tomorrow to determine whether a monument for Turkish martyrs in the region was affected by the disaster./aa