US midwest still struggles with floods

A string of towns along America’s Mississippi River prepared for new problems today only hours after flood fears eased elsewhere.

Sandbags were used in Burlington, a key rail hub, to build the city’s levee system and protect it from the river; 350 people had been evacuated.

In Grandview, a small town to the north, a 35-year-old man apparently drowned in floodwaters.

It was Iowa’s fourth death from flooding.

“It’s likely that we will see major and serious flooding” in the south-east, governor Chet Culver said. “We are taking precautionary steps, we are evacuating where necessary, but that is going to be the next round here.”

Elsewhere in the soaked Midwest, National Guard soldiers hoped to fill about 500,000 sandbags to fortify levees along a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi in western Illinois and flood waters began to recede in parts of western Michigan.

President George Bush will visit the Midwest on Thursday to inspect flood damage.

Iowa City, which has a population of about 60,000, evacuated 5,000 people yesterday, and 400 homes had suffered significant damage. But the river was expected recede as the threat of new flooding flowed south-east.

Earlier today more than 36,000 residents in 26 Iowa communities had been evacuated from their homes

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