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Louisiana flooding: at least five dead, 20,000 rescued

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In Louisiana, at least five people are now confirmed dead and thousands displaced after massive flooding swept the southern US state.

More than 20,000 people were rescued over the weekend as rain-swollen rivers caused by torrential rain wreaked havoc.

This video released by the US coast guard showed the dramatic moment one family was winched to safety after their home was consumed by flood waters.

US President Barack Obama has declared a major state of disaster in several of the hardest hit areas, including Baton Rouge, to free up vital federal funding.

Along with Louisiana, neighbouring Alabama and Mississippi have also experienced severe weather.

Marketa Walters, Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services in Louisiana said: ‘‘This is a fast moving ever changing operation and just as one shelter stands up, water comes and we have move people out of that shelter to another shelter so we are working diligently with all of our partners.”

The intensity of the storms has eased over the last 24-hours, but Louisiana’s state governor John Edwards warned people not to venture out, emphasizing the flooding was ‘not over’.

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