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Over 29,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Colombia due to massive floods triggered by torrential rains
Homes on Mud Island that are usually high above the water level are met by the rising waters of the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)
May 05, 2011 10:40 AM PDT
Arkansas recorded its eighth death since the rains started April 25 when authorities found the body of a man in the floodwaters in eastern Arkansas' Prairie County.
In Kentucky, about 3,800 residents have left their homes.
Memphis, where the Mississippi was at 43.8 feet Tuesday, could see a crest of 48 feet on May 11, just inches below the record of 48.7 feet set in 1937. Water from the Wolf and Loosahatchie rivers already has seeped into the suburbs, and some mobile home parks were swamped.
Emergency management officials said more than 1,100 houses and apartments could be hit with flooding. Several hundred people have already left, and thousands more are expected to follow them.
In Louisiana, shippers, ports and the chemical industry hoped the government could dredge fast enough to keep a major channel into the Gulf of Mexico unclogged. The Mississippi sends huge amounts of sediment downriver during high-water times.
Because the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is particularly flood-prone, the state planned to evacuate the most medically vulnerable inmates by Monday, then others later.
Mississippi officials told about 1,000 people packed into a National Guard armory Wednesday that they are confident the main levees along the Mississippi River will withstand high water in the coming weeks, but they warned that some backwater levees could be overtopped by as much as a foot.
By JOE BARRETT And JEFFREY BALL
Photo by the Associated Press
The Army Corps of Engineers was planning to blow a third and final hole to fully activate a Missouri floodway to ease pressure on floodwalls near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers as communities to the south prepared for the record-busting crest still working its way downstream.
President Barack Obama on Thursday declared disaster areas in 11 Mississippi counties expected to face serious problems from the flood.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in making the request to the White House that securing a disaster declaration before the crest arrives "will allow the federal, state and local governments to coordinate efforts both during and after the flood."
Residents along Quebec's Richelieu River honked their car horns and waved in delight as Canadian soldiers arrived Thursday to help flood victims in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal.
Soldiers were deployed to the flooded region a day after Quebec Premier Jean Charest asked the Canadian Forces for help.
About 500 soldiers have been sent to the area from CFB Valcartier. Another 100 reservists from the Montreal area were dispatched to the flood zone to support local emergency officials already on the ground.
"Basically, we'll be filling out sandbags, distributing whether food or water, protecting any infrastructure, or if requested, evacuating people," said 2nd Lt. Julien Beauchamp-Laliberté.
At least 3,000 homes and businesses have been flooded in the Richelieu Valley, and 1,000 people had left their homes by Thursday morning in the worst flooding in the region in 150 years.
The area's Royal Military College is among the buildings cleared.