Donald Trump has said the damage done to Alabama by recent tornadoes is “unbelievable” after visiting badly damaged parts of the state.
The US president and his wife Melania visited the small town of Beauregard, on the Georgia border, where all 23 who died in the tornadoes lived.
They stopped at a line of 23 crosses erected to commemorate the victims, who included four children and seven members of one family.
Dozens of people were injured and about 100 houses were destroyed by 170 mile-per-hour (264 km-per-hour) winds, officials said.
“This is unbelievable,” Mr Trump said, as he and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey surveyed the devastation.
“We saw things that you wouldn’t believe,” he said earlier, after he and his wife toured the area by helicopter.
He and the first lady stopped at a disaster relief centre at a church in Opelika, and met survivors, volunteers, and first responders.
Tables at the church were piled high with donated clothes, toiletries and other items.
Sunday’s massive EF4 tornado was one of at least 38 tornadoes confirmed to have lashed the south east US last weekend.
The president, who has been criticised for showing a lack of empathy following other disasters, hugged people that he met on the tour, listening to their stories.
He embraced relatives of one victim, Marshall Lynn Grimes, who showed the president the 59-year-old’s cherished motorcycle vest and Bible.
The landscape is littered with uprooted trees and the debris of mobile homes that were tossed over and ripped open in the twisters, which were the deadliest to hit the state since 2013.
The president has called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to give Alabama “the A Plus treatment” as the state recovers.
The damage was officially classified a disaster on Tuesday.
The Alabama dead included four children and a couple in their 80s, with 10 victims belonging to a single extended family.
(c) Sky News 2019: Donald Trump sees first hand ‘unbelievable’ tornado damage in Alabama