Water levels in Louisiana are receding after more than 30 inches of rain caused flooding throughout the state in recent days. Officials are now taking stock of the damage from the storm, which has killed at least 11 people and damaged more than 40,000 homes.
Volunteers from around the country are pouring in to assist with disaster relief, and more than 34,000 homes are without power. The Red Cross is calling it the worst natural disaster in the US since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012.
The federal government has declared a state of emergency, labeling 20 Louisiana parishes disaster zones. As the rain subsided, reports of looting and arrests surfaced in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards declared a curfew for the capital city starting on Tuesday night from 10pm to 6am.
Floodwaters flowed over the Laurel Ridge levee that acts as a barrier for the Baton Rouge area. Officials stressed that the historic water levels rose above the levee, saying the situation was unlike the major failures of the levee system around New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Edwards said rescue operations were still underway as of Tuesday, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is operating in the affected areas. Thousands of FEMA workers are expected to travel to Louisiana to help residents affected by the floods.
"Nobody is going to be forgotten," Edwards said. "We are going to do everything humanly possible to render aid."
By Tuesday evening an estimated 8,000 people were still in emergency shelters and some 60,000 people have requested relief assistance. Work is already underway to remove wet wood and drywall from homes. While the extent of the damage will become more apparent in the coming days, another two inches of rain is expected to hit the state before the end of the week.
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