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Flooded Mississippi Areas Wait As More Rain Is Forecast


States in the Deep South have seen record flooding in the past few weeks. In Alabama, the governor declared a state of emergency. But it is even worse in Mississippi. Since the start of this year, more than 2 feet of rain have fallen in the Jackson area. Here's Kobee Vance of Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

KOBEE VANCE, BYLINE: In northeast Jackson, Mickey and Anitra Holder walk through their flooded-out home.

ANITRA HOLDER: Even in the master bedroom, where the doors have been warped. They - like I say, it's mushy.

VANCE: The Pearl River was at flood stage in this part of Mississippi for days? Streets through many of these neighborhoods looked like rivers. Thousands of homes and businesses were inundated by water. Even as the flooding is receding now in the state capital, People like the Holders are returning to their homes to find their belongings drenched.

A HOLDER: As I continued to walk in, I didn't even have on boots. I had on tennis shoes. And the water was, like, soaked. At my utility room, it was still water up high in there. I'm just happy that we were able to get our family out. And we're safe.

VANCE: Like many others, the Holders are trying to figure out what to do next. Hundreds of people are still without power. And officials say some homes may not be habitable for months. Mallory White is with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. She says it's too early to say how widespread the damage has been.

MALLORY WHITE: Any type of way that they need to be assisted. Are there any long-term sheltering needs that they have? And so once we begin those assessments, we'll be able to get a better scope of how this flood really did impact the Jackson metro area.

VANCE: Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves says residents have learned about resiliency from past disasters and says the state is ready to step up to help.

TATE REEVES: Katrina taught us that our responsibility is to plan for the worst, pray for the best and expect somewhere in between.

VANCE: Back at the Holders home, Anitra has propped open the front door to air the place out.

A HOLDER: Some of the things I was able to save, like my pictures. I did get most of them up, put them up a little higher. Some of the stuff is - it will have to go because of the smell now.

VANCE: Only a few inches of water made it into the house, but that's enough to ruin most of their belongings. As they walk through their place, Mickey Holder takes inventory of what's left. He says the road to recovery will be long, but they'll get by.

MICKEY HOLDER: When you got loved ones, family and friends is helping you and you trust in God, you feel better about doing it, though, because it's going to be - it's got to be done.

VANCE: More rain is in the forecast for Mississippi, and that means the possibility of more misery for those trying to clean up. For NPR News, I'm Kobee Vance in Jackson, Miss. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kobee Vance