Historic Mississippi flooding threatens 17 MILLION people: Levees burst, water rises to record levels and officials warn of more deaths to come in crisis that has already claimed 20 lives

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Could you survive this is help was not forthcoming? Would you have clean water to drink?This photo shows a northern view of 1st Street where homes were flooded on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Pacific, Mo. Torrential rains over the past several days pushed already swollen rivers and streams to virtually unheard-of heights in parts of Missouri and Illinois. (J.B. Forbes /St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Up to 17 million people and hundreds of homes in Illinois and Missouri are under threat from a rare winter flood that has forced widespread evacuations, left 19 levees on the rising Mississippi River vulnerable and led to the partial closure of interstate highways

As the swollen rivers and streams pushed to virtually unheard-of heights Tuesday, inmates were transferred out of an Illinois state prison threatened by flooding and Missouri’s governor activated the National Guard to help divert traffic from submerged roads.

Record flooding was projected in some Mississippi River towns after several days of torrential rain that also caused sewage to flow unfiltered into waterways.

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