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Last Updated: Friday April 30 2010 05:31 GMT

Major oil spill washes up on coast

Oil has washed up on the Louisiana coastline

The major oil spill off the coast of America has started washing up on the shore of Louisiana, it's been warned.

This will seriously threaten wildlife in the area, including shrimps and oysters.

Up to 5,000 barrels of oil are thought to be pumping into the sea each day after an explosion at an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Navy has been brought in to help with the clean-up, as the oil has started to appear on the shoreline.

Jobs are threatened too because so many people in this area make their money from catching and selling shrimps and oysters.

Louisiana herons are among the threatened wildlife
Louisiana herons are among the threatened wildlife

The US Government has allowed fishermen to have an emergency shrimping session, so they can catch as many as they can before the oil ruins them.

American President Barack Obama has promised that "every single available resource" will be used to help with the disaster.

'Mind-boggling'

It's thought the oil spill could end up being America's worst environmental disaster for decades. Many species of fish and birds are also threatened.

A helicopter surveys the damage
A helicopter surveys the damage

An expert said the oil spill was a "very, very big thing", and that the effort required to clean it up properly was "mind-boggling".

Officials are warning that sealing the leaks could take months.

An investigation into the cause of the disaster is under way.