Thousands stranded following deadly South Carolina storms


A week of steady rain in the US state of South Carolina has left thousands without drinking water and devastated infrastructure. Officials say the state is in the grip of a full-scale disaster.

The death toll from record floods in the US state of South Carolina jumped to 10 on Monday, as tens of thousands of people remain in the grips in one of the worst storms on record. Two more fatalities were reported in neighboring North Carolina.

The 16.6 inches (42.16 centimeters) of rain that fell in downtown Columbia on Sunday made for one of the rainiest days recorded at a US weather station in more than 16 years.

Some towns remain entirely cut off. About 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Columbia, all four roads leading into the town of Manning were closed isolating thousands of people.

“I’m the sheriff of a bunch of islands,” said Sheriff Randy Garrett.

Statewide, 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 Columbia, which has been especially hard hit.

“South Carolina has gone through a storm of historic proportions,” Haley said. “Just because the rain stops does not mean that we are out of the woods.”

Her words proved prophetic. Shortly after her statement on Monday afternoon two dams in two separate towns east of downtown Columbia burst, forcing the evacuation of several neighborhoods.

Federal disaster area

US President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for the area, which makes federal funding available for disaster relief.

About 550 roads and bridges remained closed on Monday, including nearly 75 miles (120 kilometers) of Interstate 95, the main traffic artery connecting the southeast US to the northwest.

Governor Haley said the roads will need close inspection to ensure they’re safe.



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