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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 22:28 GMT 23:28 UK
Severe US floods leave nine dead
Children evacuated from a tennis camp in Philadelphia
Children were evacuated by raft from a tennis camp in Philadelphia
At least nine people have been killed and hundreds of thousands evacuated as north-eastern United States suffered its worst flooding in years.

Up to 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes in north-eastern Pennsylvania alone because of rising waters on the Susquehanna River.

A state of emergency has been declared across large parts of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania states.

The flooding follows days of torrential rain along the east coast.

New York Governor George Pataki - who ordered the National Guard to help with evacuation efforts - said it was by far the worst flooding he had seen in his 12 years in the job.

The largest evacuation effort was taking place in Wilkes-Barre, in Pennsylvania, where rising waters were expected to crest a few feet from the top of the 41ft (12.3m) levees protecting the town from Susquehanna's rising waters.

Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid said the evacuation of 200,000 residents was "honestly precautionary".

"We have great faith the levees are going to hold," he told the Associated Press.

Roads closed

Across the region, emergency helicopters, divers and boats were rescuing people left stranded by the floods.

A group of children were ferried out of a tennis camp by raft in Philadelphia as flooding closed many roads in and around the city.

The National Weather Service reported nine fatalities across the eastern US.

Two truckers were killed on Interstate 88 in Sidney, New York, after part of the motorway was washed away by flood waters. A motorist died as he swerved to avoid a washed-out road in Holmesville, New York.

Three people who had been rescued from a stalled car in Maryland, were swept away from the bed of a pick-up truck by a flash flood, officials said.

A man drowned trying to rescue his son who was swept away in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

At least three deaths were reported in New York state, and searches were under way for several people missing feared dead including two teenagers in Keymar, Maryland.

Roads across the region have been closed, and motorists have been warned to be cautious if out in their cars.

"We tell people, 'Turn around, don't drown,' " Edward J McDonough, a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, told the New York Times.

"If you see rainwater on the road, don't cross it, because you don't know how deep it is or how fast it's moving."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See the devastation caused by the flood waters



SEE ALSO
US 'unprepared for catastrophes'
17 Jun 06 |  Americas

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