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11 dead, 40,000 homes flooded in Louisiana

The death toll from historic flooding in Louisiana has climbed to 11 as the expanding flood zone prompted authorities to declare disasters in 20 parishes of the southeastern US state.

While flooding receded in parts of southern Louisiana, other areas saw rising waters. The National Weather Service issued renewed flood warnings.

"We're seeing unprecedented flood levels as the waters move south," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said at a news conference.

Officials said 40,000 homes have been impacted by the floods and more than 8,000 people were in shelters.

More than 20,000 have been rescued or evacuated, they said.

Twenty parishes -- similar to counties in other states -- were declared emergency disaster areas, up from four on Monday and 12 earlier on Tuesday.

The designation frees up federal money to aid with rescue operations and emergency housing, among other things.

"We're just now moving into recovery phase. We're still rescuing in the southern part of the parish," said Layton Ricks, the president of Livingston Parish -- more than 75 percent of which was affected by flooding.

There were reports of looting in areas where homes and businesses were abandoned by fleeing residents.

Many municipalities implemented evening curfews to combat the problem and to allow rescue crews to move freely at night.

"I felt this is the best way to protect our residents," said East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, adding that 10 people were arrested for looting since Monday afternoon.

Topics: Floods , Weather , Louisiana , United States , Disasters
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