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Death toll climbs; damages assessed

Body of 2-year-old recovered after north Texas flooding.

BY STAFF REPORT | GAINESVILLE, Texas | June 20, 2007

The death toll from flooding in several north Texas counties climbed to six on Tuesday after the body of a 2-year-old girl was found along Pecan Creek, authorities reported.

The bodies of the toddler's 5-year-old sister and grandmother were recovered in the water on Monday after their mobile home was swept down the creek. The children's mother was rescued.

Other fatalities were reported in Sherman and in the Fort Worth suburb of Haltom City, where a 4-year-old girl died after she was swept out of her mother's arms when a rescue boat capsized. Authorities said no other people were missing.

Monday's storm dropped 4 to 6 inches of rain across much of north Texas and the National Weather Service reported isolated totals of 10 inches in Cooke and Grayson counties. The rain fell only a few hours overnight Sunday and into Monday, which prompted flash flooding and the evacuation of hundreds of people.

The flooding affected at least 300 homes in the Cooke County town of Gainesville, where emergency officials rescued many residents off their rooftops Monday. At least 20 homes were affected by the flooding in the Grayson County city of Sherman.

In Tarrant County, Haltom City and Keller saw severe flood damage that destroyed 13 homes and affected another 88. Flooding destroyed five homes and damaged another 20 in Lampasas County.

Gov. Rich Perry declared four counties - Grayson, Cooke, Lampasas and Tarrant - as disaster areas due to flooding, tornadoes and severe storms.

"Recent storms have devastated the communities in north Texas, sadly taking lives and homes in the storms' path," Perry said. "State resources and volunteer organizations are on-site providing assistance, and we will continue to work with local officials in addressing the needs of these communities."

Faith-based disaster relief organizations in the four counties were assisting with feeding, cleanup and damage assessments. Texas Baptist Men and The Salvation Army were feeding families while Adventist Community Services was preparing to deploy. The Salvation Army also deployed a pastoral crisis counseling team.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief sent flood buckets to the local annual conference and reported that some local conference representatives will assist with damage assessments. Whaley United Methodist Church in Gainesville was serving as a shelter.

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