Louisiana governor: 40,000 homes affected by floods
The Latest on flooding in the Deep South (all times local):
Louisiana's governor says at least 40,000 homes have been affected by the historic floods in the southern part of the state.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a news conference Tuesday that the state is entering a recovery phase while also continuing search and rescue missions in other places. He says well over 20,000 people have been rescued. More than 8,000 are staying in shelters, but that number is fluctuating as people arrive and leave the shelters.
Edwards spoke after meeting with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. The head of FEMA says the agency understands that the state is suffering through a "very large disaster" even though it might not be getting a lot of attention in the news.
At least eight people have died in the floods, which started Friday when a torrent of about two feet of rain inundated the state.
Eight deaths are now attributed to the storms and flooding in south Louisiana.
Devin George, state registrar for vital records, said Tuesday the latest confirmed death occurred in East Baton Rouge Parish. A 66-year-old man's body was found in the Sherwood Forest area.
George described it as an "accidental drowning" related to the storm.
Of the eight deaths, two were in Tangipahoa Parish, two were in St. Helena Parish and the other four were in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Floodwaters were receding in many parts of south Louisiana on Tuesday, though they were continuing to rise in other areas as the water drained south.
Residents in areas where floodwaters are receding are going back to see what is left of their homes and it's a devastating picture.
David Key saw his house in Prairieville for the first time Tuesday morning.
He said the house took on five inches of "muddy nasty bayou water." There were fish and thousands of spiders. And mold has started to set in.
Key says when he saw the damage he "cried uncontrollably."
Key and his wife spent most of the weekend putting as much of the contents of their house into the second floor and setting furniture up on concrete blocks.
Now he has to rip out the drywall and insulation and de-humidify the house as fast as he can so the mold won't spread.
Another eight parishes have been added to Louisiana's federal disaster declaration, boosting the number of parishes available for federal aid to twelve.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' office said Tuesday that Acadia, Ascension, East Feliciana, Iberia, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Landry, and Vermillion parishes were approved for federal assistance. Those parishes are mostly in south central Louisiana.
Parishes named in the federal disaster declaration were East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa parishes.
People can seek federal disaster aid by signing up at www.disasterassistance.gov. More than 36,000 people from Louisiana have registered so far with FEMA, according to the governor's office.
Additional parishes may join the list as further damage assessments are made.
Torrential rains have caused widespread flooding in parts of southern Louisiana.
As water starts to move out of heavily-flooded Livingston Parish in southern Louisiana, authorities assessing the damage believe three-quarters of the homes are destroyed.
Lori Steele, spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, says the sheriff estimates about 75 percent of the homes are "a total loss." The parish has a population of about 138,000 people.
More than 15,000 people have been rescued from floodwaters in the parish since the storms began Friday and more were still ongoing Monday even as the water was draining in some areas.
Steele remained upbeat, calling it a "good day" because the parish hasn't seen any storm-related deaths and the rescues are no longer people in their attics, but people who are running low on supplies in flooded areas.
Seven deaths have been attributed to the flooding in south Louisiana.
Corrects that parish, not town has 138,000 people.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has activated its mobile pet shelter to the Baton Rouge River Center which is now sheltering evacuees.
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said in a news release Monday the mobile pet shelter can hold approximately 50 pets. It's a tractor trailer equipped with metal cages, generator, battery power, and a cleaning station. It has an air ventilation system to provide proper air circulation and temperature for the pets.
Strain says pets that arrived with patients at the LSU critical-needs shelter are being taken to Dixon Correctional Institute for safe sheltering.
The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to Louisiana to meet with state officials on the ongoing flooding there.
Craig Fugate will meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
The governor's office says Fugate will travel to Louisiana to meet with the state's Unified Command Group to discuss the federal assistance available and response efforts.
The federal government declared a major disaster in the state, specifically in the parishes of Tangipahoa, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston. State officials say disaster declarations for other parishes affected by flooding could come this week.
Some residents of Louisiana's capital city have begun struggling to return to flood-damaged homes on foot, in cars, and by boat as waters recede in some areas.
But though the rain had mostly stopped, new places in the state are facing flood dangers from the deluge that has sent thousands into shelters.
Rivers and creeks are still dangerously bloated south of Baton Rouge. People have filled sandbags to protect their houses, bracing for the worst as high water flows toward the Gulf of Mexico. In one area, Ascension Parish, officials say some small towns have already been inundated.
Several deaths have been reported, including a body pulled late Monday from Baton Rouge floodwaters. The disaster has prompted thousands of rescues and many found refuge in hastily prepared shelters.
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