Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

South Carolina flooding: Rain stops, but death toll rises as 18 dams breach

By Valerie Edwards

Published 06/10/2015

The interior of a flooded car is seen in Columbia. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The interior of a flooded car is seen in Columbia. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Officials investigate the breach of the Columbia Canal. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Floodwaters cover a cemetery in Georgetown, S.C. (Janet Blackmon Morgan/The Sun News via AP)
A kayaker makes her way through floodwaters on Sullivan's Island, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A truck sits off a washed out road outside of Columbia, S.C., Monday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Flood displaced residents listen to the governors' press conference from a temporary shelter at St. Andrews Middle School in Columbia, South Carolina. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Flood displaced residents watch Governor Nikki Haley's press conference at a temporary shelter at St. Andrews Middle School in Columbia, South Carolina. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Flood displaced residents watch Governor Nikki Haley's press conference at a temporary shelter at St. Andrews Middle School in Columbia. (ANTONOV MLADEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Charlene Stennis is escorted to safety after her son was rescued from a stranded vehicle in a flooded roadway in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Charlene Stennis takes her son Christian Hoo-Fong from a fireman after being stranded in a vehicle by flood water. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
A car drives down a flooded street in Charleston, South Carolina. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Columbia Fire Department look out over the flooding on Tall Pines Circle in Columbia, SC. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
A local resident walks his dog on a flooded street in downtown Charleston. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The roof of a vehicle peeks above the flood waters in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Homes are inundated by flood waters in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Will Cunningham, 14, rides his bike down Station 29 on Sullivan's Island, S.C., with his friend Patrick Kelly, 14, going the kayak route during flood waters on Sullivan's Island. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A truck with a passenger drives through a flooded parking lot in Florence, S.C., Sunday as heavy rain continues to cause flooding through many parts of the state. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Flooded cars are parked at an apartment complex in Columbia, S.C., Sunday. The rainstorm drenching the U.S. East Coast brought more misery Sunday to South Carolina, cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing many roads because of floodwaters. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
People walk in the water at a flooded street in downtown Charleston. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch as the flood inches toward their door outside of Conway, S.C., Sunday. (Janet Blackmon Morgan/The Sun News via AP)
A small sculpture left by local residents is seen on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, SC. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman crosses a flooded street in downtown Charleston. Much of the US southeast was under water Saturday. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Two man row a boat on a flooded street in Charleston, South Carolina. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Flood waters rise around a title loan store on Garners Ferry Road in Columbia. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Farrell Rose and his fiancee Damita Trapp look away after flood waters surrounded their home in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
A vehicle and a man try to navigate floodwaters in Florence, S.C., Sunday as heavy rain continues to cause widespread flooding in many areas of the state. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A firefighter checks the road in front of his truck on a flooded street in downtown Charleston. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A dog runs on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Flood waters rise around a title loan store on Garners Ferry Road Columbia. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

The death toll has risen as 18 dams have breached or failed completely causing massive flooding and mandatory evacuation for several counties, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

At least 13 people have died in weather-related incidents, including 11 in South Carolina and two in North Carolina.

In South Carolina, seven people drowned and four died in traffic accidents, according to the state's department of public safety.

North Carolina reported two deaths from traffic accidents, in Cumberland and Jackson Counties.

President Barack Obama has declared eight South Carolina counties a federal disaster, including three in the Midlands: Lexington, Orangeburg, and Richland. Other counties could also get help with public assistance.

In a statement, Governor Nikki Haley said people should expect more counties will be added to that list in the coming weeks. The money would cover, in part, losses not taken care of by insurance companies.

More than 40,000 residents have no water and 26,000 have no power and the mayor of Columbia is bracing for even more trouble.

Mayor Steve Benjamin said Monday that he believes things will get worse before they get better, according to CNN.

He said: "I anticipate that damage will probably be in the billions of dollars and we're going to have to work to rebuild. Some peoples' lives as they know them will never be the same."

Several items have drifted away in the flood waters, but nothing was more disturbing than to see caskets unearthed from a South Carolina cemetery.

Paster Wayne Reeves of New Life Ministries in Summerville was in the middle of an interview with CNN affiliate WCBD when he saw a casket float away. He then headed into the waist-deep floodwater to retrieve it.

He told WCBD: "That's somebody's family out there. This family doesn't want to sit on the edge of this road all night long watching their family members bob in the water like that."

River levels are expected to rise for the rest of the week and there is also the threat of displaced wildlife in some sections of the state, such as snakes and alligators.

More deaths may still be reported as officials go door-to-door to check on residents.

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph