More than 7,000 people rescued from deadly Louisiana floods

More than 7,000 people rescued from deadly Louisiana floods

(ABC NEWS) — Emergency workers in Louisiana have rescued more than 7,000 stranded residents from submerged homes and cars in the wake of a historic flood that has left at least three people dead and one person missing, Governor John Bel Edwards said Sunday. More than 500 pets have also been rescued, he said.

Emergency management officials joined the governor at a press conference this afternoon and emphasized a search and rescue operations was still underway, and that boats and helicopters have been deployed in the search efforts.

About 5,500 people spent Saturday night in shelters, Some sleeping on the floor because of a shortage of beds, according to officials. The shelters themselves were not immune to flood damage, however, and some had to be evacuated due to rising waters, authorities said.

About 200 roads have been closed because due to high water, officials said, and 1,400 bridges need to be inspected before they are reopened to traffic, officials said.

The Sheriff’s Department of Livingston Parish in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area told ABC News that thousands have been rescued in that parish alone and that roughly 100 people were still waiting for help as of early Sunday morning.

Most of the flooding has been around Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, the persistent rainfall that led to the flood has not shown signs of completely stopping. The National Weather Service said a slow-moving pressure system would continue to bring precipitation to Louisiana and parts of Southern Texas on Sunday.

For the many people forced out of their homes, there is the added complication of limited mobile phone service. AT&T mobile users in the greater Baton Rouge area have reported large outages of service.

Louisiana has long been been considered extremely vulnerable to flooding events like this by scientists, who note that a confluence of rising seas and low lying land put residents in long term danger of losing their land.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is occasionally required to redraw maps, as a result of this land loss.

The damage caused this weekend serves as a reminder of how devastating flooding can be.

An elderly man drowned yesterday after slipping and falling in high waters amid heavy rain in East Baton Rouge Parish. In St. Helena Parish, a man died when his pickup truck was swept off a flooded highway and submerged underwater, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a news conference. The corpse of a drowned woman was recovered from the Tickfaw River in southeast Louisiana, according to Michael Martin, chief of operations for the St. Helena Sheriff’s Office.

Gov. Edwards noted that he and his family were forced to leave the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge when chest-high water filled the basement and electricity shut off.

“I’m still asking people to be patient. Don’t get out and sightsee,” Edwards said yesterday.

“Even when the weather is better, it’s not safe.”


Troy McMullen, Morgan Winsor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.