Louisiana flooding: Volunteers descend on stricken state to assist relief efforts

Louisiana Flood Is Worst U.S. Disaster Since Sandy, Red Cross Says

More than 1,000 volunteers from every state were descending on flood-stricken Louisiana Wednesday to assist relief efforts for what the Red Cross called the nation's worst disaster since Superstorm Sandy.

At least 11 people have been killed, some 40,000 homes affected and 30,000 people rescued in what officials have described as some of the worst flooding ever to hit the state.

Around 8,000 people remain in emergency shelters, days after the deluge began.

Most of Louisiana has received at least one foot of rain since Friday — with some places getting as much as 30 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Although the water has receded in some areas, it's still rising in others as the floodwaters move downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Devastating images fromLouisiana

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Devastating scenes from Louisiana of flooding
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Devastating scenes from Louisiana of flooding
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., A in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans rescues three people from a rooftop due to flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., in this still image from video taken on August 13, 2016. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A truck drives through a flooded street in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, U.S., August 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky
Residents survey flooding on Lee Street after heavy rains in Sorrento, Louisiana, U.S. August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
A flooded house is seen in Prairieville, Louisiana, U.S., August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A casket is seen in front of a partially submerged church in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A submerged vehicle is seen in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A submerged house is seen in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Richard Rossi and his 4 year old great grandson Justice wade through water in search of higher ground after their home took in water in St. Amant, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Residents are rescued in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Brittany Addox carries her dog, Maggie, after being rescued in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, U.S., August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
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The scale of the devastation was only starting to come to light.

"The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy [in Oct. 2012]" said Brad Kieserman, the Red Cross's vice president of disaster services, operations and logistics.

Photos: Historic Louisiana Floods: More Than 40,000 Homes Affected

He said in a statement Tuesday that the relief operation would cost at least $30 million — warning that the price tag "may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation."

Grammy award-winning musician Taylor Swift said she was donating $1 million to flood relief because of the warm welcome she was given when kicking off her world tour in the state last year.

"The fact that so many people in Louisiana have been forced out of their own homes this week is heartbreaking," the 26-year-old performer said in a statement. "I encourage those who can to help out and send your love and prayers their way during this devastating time."

Louisiana flooding: At least 11 dead, 8,000 in shelters

The Red Cross said volunteers from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, were helping thousands of residents get to a safe place, as well providing them with food and water.

Twenty parishes were under a federal disaster zone and more than a dozen were subject to overnight curfews. At least 10 people have been arrested for looting in East Baton Rouge parish, according to Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

Gautreaux told a news conference Tuesday that there were "significant" power outages and some homes and businesses had experienced "total devastation."

More from NBC News: What Louisiana Flood Victims Need to Do Right Now

Among the worst affected was Livingston Parish, where more than three quarters of all homes have already been "lost to floods," Lori Steele, a spokeswoman for the parish, told NBC News.

"We're devastated in Livingston," Livingston Sheriff Jason Dore told the news conference.

Floodwaters were slopping over the top of the the Laurel Ridge levee, which protects the parish in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area from the Amite River, according to the Ascension Parish Homeland Security Office.

A third of Ascension's 45,000 homes have been flooded — and waters there are expected to rise.

"The next 24 to 48 hours is going to be a significant indication of just how much risk the parish remains in," said Rick Webre, director of the Homeland Security Office.

Forecasters said the worst of the rain is likely over, but the southern part of the state is still expected to see some 2 inches more rain through Friday, the NWS said.

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