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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
Floods hit US New England states
Residents on boats in the flooded town of Lowell, Mass.
Some residents used boats to move around flooded towns
Thousands of people have been evacuated in America's north-eastern New England states due to a heavy flooding - some of the worst since the 1930s.

In parts of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire rivers overflowed their banks after four days of rain.

Emergency crews used boats to rescue people trapped in their homes, as water reached waist-height in some towns.

A state of emergency was declared in all three states, as officials predicted more rains on Monday night.

"I've never seen flooding like this before," Faustino Melo, a resident in the hard-hit Massachusetts city of Peabody, near Boston, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Authorities said that up to 12 inches (38cm) of rain had fallen since late Friday in parts of Massachusetts, swelling the Merrimack River more than eight feet (2.4m) above the flood level.

"It's bad now but we're expecting it to get much worse," said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge.

Tens of millions of litres of sewage spilled into the Merrimack River after pipes burst in the city of Haverhill, Mass.

Floodwaters knocked out of service a treatment plant in Lawrence, causing extensive spillage.

In New Hampshire, officials ordered the evacuation of several thousand people in Rochester amid concerns that a dam could burst.

More than 600 roads in the state were damaged by the flooding.

In Maine, rising floodwaters forced many families to flee their homes on the banks of the Mousam River.


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