Record floods kill nine in US state of South Carolina


Columbia: The death toll from record floods in the US state of South Carolina jumped to nine Monday, as tens of thousands of people lost power and had no drinking water.

Shaken residents sought refuge in shelters, while authorities carried out evacuations by air since hundreds of roads and bridges were closed to traffic.

Some 26,000 South Carolinians did not have electricity and 40,000 had no drinking water, Governor Nikki Haley told reporters on the outskirts of the capital Columbia, which has been especially hard hit.

Haley, who confirmed the latest toll, has called the extreme floods a once-in-a-thousand-year event.

At least nine dams have failed, according to Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration, which makes federal aid available.

Covering the counties of Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, and Williamsburg, the assistance can be used for things such as emergency housing.

Water distribution points opened in Columbia for 1.5 hours before the curfew, in place for a second night from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Drinking from the city system was considered unsafe after breaches in the canal supplying the city.

Other distribution centers were due to be added around the state in the coming days.

Local media reported firefighters were pumping fresh water to the water systems of Columbia´s hospitals, which, like the rest of the city, had been advised to boil water before using it.

Schools were still closed in Columbia, along with most government offices and shops.


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