Almost 500 people are unaccounted for in Colorado's flash floods.
Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:23PM GMT
US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in the state of Colorado as officials say almost 500 people are unaccounted for in devastating flash floods.
A disaster declaration for Colorado signed by the US president Saturday night would offer federal aid to facilitate recovery efforts.
“Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” the White House said in a statement.
On Sunday, authorities announced an 80-year-old woman presumed dead. The number of deaths blamed on the flooding could already be as high as six, reported CNN.
Meanwhile, officials have warned that the death toll will almost certainly rise as there are 482 people unaccounted for.
“It's unlikely at this point that we'll be able to reach those who are stranded in the hard-to-reach areas,” said Kim Kobel, a spokesperson for the Office of Emergency Management in Boulder, Colorado.
Authorities have said that fixing 100-150 miles of roadway and 20-30 bridges in Boulder County alone would cost an estimated $150 million.
“We have lost a great deal of infrastructure,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said on Saturday.
Hickenlooper has also said that federal authorities have assured him that “the $5 million that was released Friday was just the beginning” of federal assistance to Colorado.
Meanwhile, more rain is expected and residents are worried that any additional water could cause more flooding and halt rescue efforts.