Death Toll Climbing After Storms Barrel Through Southeast

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ALBANY, Georgia (CBSMiami) – The same storm system that hit South Florida proved even more destructive and deadly in Georgia and Mississippi.

At least 19 people are dead and dozens more are injured after a string of tornadoes barreled through those states.

Sergio Rios struggled with his emotions as he dug through what’s left of his mobile home.

His neighborhood is now littered with debris.

It’s one of several in Albany, Georgia destroyed by a powerful tornado.

“I couldn’t recognize my trailer. I thought it was over there, but it’s right there,” Rios said.

Related: Palm Beach Residents Assess Damage After Storms Move Through

The search and rescue operation is continuing and the death toll could rise.

Sixteen counties across the state are under a state of emergency.

“It came in three phases. Each phase was stronger than the prior phase. The last one had a tornado that was on the ground for over an hour,” said Homer Bryson with Georgia Emergency Management.

Related: Tornado Hits NW Dade Leaving Damage In Wake

Albany is already dealing with the aftereffects of another tornado that hit three weeks ago.

County officials say federal assistance has been impossible to secure and they are frustrated.

“To get caught up in the bureaucratic red tape at a time of this amount of human suffering is disgraceful,” said Dougherty County Commission Chairman Christopher Cohilas.

The tornado in Albany is one of about 30 confirmed in the southeast over the weekend – most of them in Georgia.

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