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Debris collection begin for flooded areas of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Officials in one West Virginia county hit by recent flooding are starting the task of removing residential debris.

Curbside debris collection began Wednesday in flood-ravaged neighborhoods of eastern Kanawha County where up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain fell on Monday, the county commission said in a news release. Among the hardest hit areas were Hughes Creek, Kelleys Creek and Campbells Creek.

The statement said dump trucks will collect debris through at least Sunday.

The cleanup comes as forecasters predict another rainy stretch of weather starting Saturday.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in Kanawha and Fayette counties, enabling the National Guard to respond to hard-hit areas. Some people had to be rescued by boat as the flooding damaged more than 100 homes, bridges and roads, interrupted drinking water systems and left more than 2,000 customers without electricity.

Along the Fayette-Kanawha County line, several feet of mud made roads impassible in the Smithers area.

The state Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday issued an advisory against the recreational use of a 10-mile (16-kilometer) area downstream of the Mount Olive Correctional Center to the London Locks and Dam.

The floods washed out at least 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) of a public service district’s sewage collection system serving the prison. In a statement, the DEP advised people to avoid water recreation activities such as swimming, fishing, water skiing, and certain types of pleasure boating.