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Brianna Paciorka/The Advocate via AP
World News

Church uses boats to take people to safety in Louisiana floods

by Antony Bushfield

Major flooding has hit the area with the local governor warning it was "not over".

From the air, homes in south-west Louisiana looked more like little islands surrounded by flooded fields.

Farmland was covered, streets descended into impassable pools of water, and shopping centres were inundated with only roofs of cars peeking above the water.

AP Photo/Max Becherer

From the ground it was just as catastrophic. Drivers tried to navigate treacherous roads where the water lapped at the side or covered the asphalt in a running stream.

Abandoned cars were pushed to the side of the road, lawn furniture and children's toys floating through the waters.

Hundreds of people have been offered temporary refuge at Hebron Baptist Church which is using boats to sail to houses and collect the stranded.

Helicopters are taking less able people from the church to hospital and other state run facilities.

The church is running short on food and water and flooding is threatening the building too, said one man inside.

Patrick Dennis/The Advocate via AP

He told AP many people were "tired and nervous" inside the church.

Beginning on Friday, six to 10 inches of rain fell on parts of Louisiana and several more inches of rain fell on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Some areas got even more rain. In a 24-hour period, Baton Rouge had as much as 11 inches while one weather observer reported more than 17 inches in Livingston.

Forecasters expect heavy rain into the middle of this week.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency for several counties in his state as it also battled the heavy rainfall.

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