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Alleged Looters Arrested As Flood Damage Spreads

A number of people have been detained in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and accused of looting in the wake of the floods that have struck the area in mid-August.

Local police officials confirmed the arrest of 14 people, although details on the circumstances related to six of these remain unclear, WAFB reported.

Baker Police Department reported detaining four people at 11 a.m. Aug. 17. They were accused of taking alcohol and cigars from a store.

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office detained another group accused of taking $750 worth of merchandise from a Dollar General store.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards described the flooding as “unprecedented,” according to CNN.

The heavy rains have damaged more than 40,000 homes in a state with a population of 4.5 million. Edwards has asked for volunteers to help clear mud from houses.

On Aug. 16, 31.3 inches of rain fell in Livingston Parish. In Baton Rouge, 19 inches of rain fell.

The floods have led to 13 deaths. Five died in East Baton Rouge Parish, three in Tangipahoa Parish, two in St. Helena Parish, two in Livingston Parish and one in Rapides Parish.

Thousands more people are living in shelters or are homeless.

States of emergency have been declared in 12 parishes, with Edwards expecting further parishes to follow.

The likelihood of floods of this extent occurring is once in every 500 years.

There has been some criticism of the authorities’ readiness for the floods. The Atlantic reported the comments of local Republican politician Garret Graves, who said a large number of cars had been left in driveways by residents because they were not aware of how bad the weather was going to be.

“Overall there was a lack of preparation and really anticipation in this case that was inappropriate,” Graves said. “I think we could have mitigated some of the loss, in fact a good bit of the loss, had there been communication about the threat of the flood.”

Sources: WAFB, CNN, The Atlantic / Photo credit: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office via WAFB

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