Written by Ranee Mohamed
26 Jun, 2016 | 8:16 am
Hundreds of people stranded by floods have been rescued in West Virginia, with the death toll now standing at 23, officials say. Rescue work continues and authorities fear more victims may be found as they search through the debris.
Federal officials have declared it a major disaster, triggering aid for the three most affected counties, the state governor says.The floods are the worst in a century in some areas.
State Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the federal help included medical support and housing to Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties.
Officials were still assessing the damage in other areas and additional requests for aid could follow, he added.West Virginia received a quarter of its annual rainfall in a single day, the US National Weather Service said.
A storm system dumped up to 10 inches (250mm) of rain on parts of the state, causing rivers and streams to overflow.More than 100 homes were destroyed, some of them torn from their foundations and carried away, and an estimated 32,000 residences were still without power.
Teams removed people from upper-floor windows, tops of trees and cars. Among those rescued were a 97-year-old woman and a family of five including an infant, officials said.About 500 people were trapped in a shopping centre as crews scrambled to build a new gravel road to reach them.
Meanwhile, officials continued to try to reach others stranded in devastated areas.A state of emergency was declared in 44 of the state’s 55 counties, and up to 500 soldiers have been authorised to assist in the rescue operations.
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