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23 dead in US flooding, search and rescue continues

The victims included a four-year-old boy who was washed away by rapid floodwaters in Jackson county.

Published: 25th June 2016 10:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2016 10:16 AM   |  A+A-

APTOPIX Severe Weathe_Mukh

Jay Bennett, left, and step-son Easton Phillips survey the damage to a neighbors car in front of their home damaged by floodwaters as the cleanup begins from severe flooding in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Friday, June 24, 2016. A deluge of 9 inches of

By IANS

WAHINGTON: At least 23 persons were killed as heavy thunderstorms caused sudden flooding in US' West Virginia state, officials said.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced 14 deaths at a news conference on Friday afternoon. By Friday night, the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management increased the toll to 23, CNN reported.

The victims included a four-year-old boy who was washed away by rapid floodwaters in Jackson county. The child was playing with his sister behind their home when he fell into what a stream that had instantly turned into a rushing current after the relentless storms. 

An 8-year old boy from Ravenswood was also killed in the violent storm.

Trees and power lines fell as heavy rains sent creeks and rivers out of their banks late Thursday and early Friday, leaving many stranded residents waiting to be rescued. 

Forty-four counties declared a state of emergency Thursday night, primarily in the southeastern part of West Virginia. 

Elkview, Clendenin and Frame were hit the hardest by the flooding, officials said.

Tomblin activated 200 National Guard members to assist in eight counties and has authorisation for as many as 300 more to help with the rescue and response efforts, the governor's office said.

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