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.
Residents look out over the flooded Old Jefferson Highway south of Baton Rouge on August 16 as homeowners worked to mitigate the impacts of the historic flooding. (Photo by Max Becherer/AP)
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.
A flooded home in Holden, Louisiana on August 14 after the storm initially subsided and rescue operations were in full force. (Photo by Max Becherer/AP)
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.
Louisiana Army National Guard members loading residents into trucks as they ran rescue operations on Sunday in Walker, Louisiana. (Photo by Max Becherer/AP)
Danny and Alys Messenger use a canoe to leave their home in Praireville on August 16 after returning to the house to scope out the damage. (Photo by Max Becherer/AP)
Richard Rossi pushes through the floodwater with his 4-year-old great grandson Justice on August 15. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)
Church volunteers in Baton Rouge work to clean out waterlogged infrastructure from area homes to prevent mold on Tuesday. (Photo by Max Becherer/AP)
A Louisiana Army National Guard dump truck after veering off the road and into high water in Walker, Louisiana on Sunday. (Photo by Max Becherer/AP)
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