Louisiana mobilizes emergency services during 'historic' floods

Ongoing flooding in Louisiana has caused a massive mobilization of emergency services to rescue over 7,000 stranded people.

Brianna Paiorka/The Advocate/AP
A resident wades through flood water at Tiger Manor Apartments by the North Gates of LSU in Baton Rouge, LA, on Saturday.

Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency across the state of Louisiana in response to extreme flooding in the region.

Since then, emergency forces have mobilized to rescue more than 7,000 stranded Louisiana residents from cars, homes, and other buildings across the state.

Over the weekend, rainfall caused rivers across the state to rise to historic levels, particularly around Baton Rouge. In Watson, La., as much as 30 inches of rain had fallen as of Saturday, according to The Weather Channel. While the downpour is lessening, some areas of southern Mississippi are still under flood warnings.

Junior Shelton, the mayor of Central, La., called it "a flood of epic proportions."

"When we talk about floods now, we'll talk about the flood of 2016," he said in an interview with The Advocate, "Everything else pales in comparison."

The rainfall and water levels are breaking records across the state, creating a daunting challenge for emergency services. Butmergency teams have stepped up to the challenge. The Louisiana State Police's Facebook page posted an update on various stranded vehicles Sunday morning stating that despite the obstacles, "These efforts will continue until every person is rescued."

Saturday morning, there were 1,000 rescues reported. By the end of the day, that number had doubled to 2,000. At the time of writing this article, that number was around 7,000. People have been rescued from cars, attics, and rooftops across the state.

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard told Fox News in an interview on Saturday that the work is ongoing. "We haven't been rescuing people. We've been rescuing subdivisions." 

The flooding has killed at least three people, with at least one person missing. 

The Louisiana National Guard's website reported Saturday that 1,000 National Guard personnel had been mobilized to conduct search and rescue with nearly 170 high-water vehicles, 20 boats, and 5 helicopters in use or ready to assist victims of the flooding. 

The heroic efforts of police, firefighters, and others, is ongoing. Various shelters and volunteer organizations have been set up to assist victims who need help, many of which are accepting donations

Many ordinary citizens have stepped up to help. According to the Associated Press, Alex Cobb of Baton Rouge gave out food meant for a bridal shower she was hosting to people who had been stranded on the road. A produce truck on the same road was giving away food as well.

Governor Edwards called the floods "unprecedented" and "historic," urging Louisiana residents not to go outside and "sightsee" even as the weather begins to improve, according to the Associated Press.

Despite the "historic" nature of the flooding, emergency services and ordinary citizens are coming together to do what they can to make sure the response is just as worthy of the history books.

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