2008-06-19 09:42:49 GMT 2008-06-19 17:42:49 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
An aerial view of flooded downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 14, 2008. Several more levees holding back rising flood waters in the U.S. Midwest broke on Saturday, forcing more evacuations and emergency actions by officials to limit damage and injuries. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
A section of a levee that broke in Des Moines, Iowa June 14, 2008. A levee holding back rising floodwaters broke and swamped Iowa's capital on Saturday as officials across the U.S. Midwest reinforced levees, helped displaced residents and cleaned up the mess left by the region's worst flooding in 15 years. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
BEIJING, June 19 (Xinhuanet) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned Wednesday at least 21 levees along the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri, are in danger of breaching during the next few days. A breach Wednesday swamped 47 square miles of prime farmland.
The warning follows at least 20 compromised levees across the Midwest and along several rivers so far this month that have flooded tens of thousands of acres, forced thousands of people to evacuate and caused losses in the billions of dollars.
The only silver lining to the forecast is that the threatened areas are farmland, not densely populated areas.
Storms and flooding across six states this month have killed 24 people, injured 148 and caused more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in estimated damage in Iowa alone — a figure that's likely to increase as river levels climb in Missouri and Illinois.
FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said as of Wednesday afternoon, officials shifted concern to flooding between St. Louis and the Quad Cities, which include Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois.
Paulison said he expects that the lower part of the Mississippi will absorb the increased water flow without much impact.
The federal government has provided more than 3 million quarts of water, 150 generators, more than 213,000 meals, 13 million sandbags and 4,000 rolls of plastic sheeting, according to FEMA and Army Corps tallies.