4 killed when tornado tears through US state of Mississippi, state of emergency declared

A severe thunderstorm wall cloud is seen over the area of Canton, Mississippi in this April 29, 2014 file photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A severe thunderstorm wall cloud is seen over the area of Canton, Mississippi in this April 29, 2014 file photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - At least four people were killed in the south-eastern US state of Mississippi on Tuesday after a tornado tore through the region, officials said.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in the two counties which bore the brunt of the disaster. "I have declared a state of emergency to assist local officials with any available state resources that are needed in areas affected by severe weather, specifically in Jones and Marion counties," Mr Bryant said.

The tornado crashed through the two counties damaging homes, and knocked out power to thousands of customers, he said.

Marion County Coroner Norma Williamson reported two fatalities and several injuries. In Jones County, Sheriff Alex Hodge reported two more died when the tornado gutted a mobile home they were in.

Marion County Hospital was overwhelmed by people seeking aid. They treated 50 patients, eight of whom were transported to Forrest General with severe injuries, WDAM television reported.