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Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency Thursday after a heavy deluge that left many people stranded and continues to cause damage and stress to flood levees.

With the declaration, state agencies will be able to work directly with local officials responding to the flooding.

The Missouri River has swelled after heavy rains and snowmelt earlier this month. So far, the flooding has claimed lives, damaged thousands of homes and broken more than a dozen levees in several states which include Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

The flooding has also prompted evacuations of several small farm communities. Floodwaters have also inundated tens of thousands of acres of crop lands, drowned livestock and continue to be a threat to stockpiled grains.

This year’s floods are expected to exceed the historic floods of 1993 and 2011. Photo of 1993 Missouri flood by Mark Kaempfer.

The farming town of Craig in Holt County had to be evacuated after a levee was breached by the large amount of water. Some 200 residents of Lewis and Clark Village in neighboring Buchanan County also had to be evacuated after a levee nearby was busted.

The declaration of a state of emergency comes after state water patrol troopers worked overnight on Wednesday to pull four people from their homes and three others from a boat that ran out of gas around the town of Craig.

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Downstream from Craig, Forest City residents have started to fill sandbags near the city’s water treatment plant to boost their local levee, hoping at a better chance of weathering the disaster. In a statement to the media, South Holt County Assistant Fire Chief Bill Killin said, “This is our last line of defense.”

In a statement, Parson said “the rising floodwaters are affecting more Missouri communities and farms, closing more roads and threatening levees, water treatment plants and other critical infrastructure.” Parsons also expressed that they will continue working with local partners in assessing the needs of his constituents.