As the Mississippi River and its tributaries began receding from historic levels that flooded towns, forced evacuations and killed two dozen people, residents in the St. Louis area were facing a massive cleanup and recovery effort that will likely last weeks.
The flood, fueled by more than 10 inches of rain over a three-day period that began last weekend, is blamed for 24 deaths in Illinois and Missouri.
Saturday, President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Missouri and ordered federal aid for the region, the White House said in a statement. The declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security to coordinate relief efforts.
Most of emergency personnel, including the National Guard, were involved in debris removal as thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses had taken in rubble from the floodwaters, Gov. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said early Saturday.