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Iowa Flooding Eases Slightly

Rain-swollen rivers in parts of the central U.S. state of Iowa are beginning to recede, as residents try to get their first close-up look at devastation left behind by several days of flooding.

Governor Chet Culver says the flooding has caused "massive" losses totaling in the billions of dollars.

In the hardest-hit town of Cedar Rapids, hundreds of city blocks were under water and some 24,000 people were forced from their homes. The swollen Iowa River on Sunday had come down almost two meters from its record crest of 9.5 meters, but officials said it could be another week before the river falls below flood stage.

In Iowa City, much of the University of Iowa campus was under water, with some 20 buildings flooded.

Flooding in Iowa, along with recent tornadoes, has left at least 15 people dead. The bad weather has destroyed many hectares of crops in the major corn-producing state and cut off access to several key highways and bridges.

There also has been serious flooding in other parts of the upper midwestern United States. Unusually heavy spring rains have brought on the floods.