Water in the Baton Rouge River is being pumped out of homes and into an industrial pond, killing at least five people and leaving residents stranded, the state’s health department said Monday.
The state’s water department on Monday identified the victims of the floods as an elderly man in his 80s and his three children ages 8, 12 and 14.
They died in separate incidents at a home in the city of New Orleans, in the parish of New Bordeaux, and at a house in the village of New Ochs.
Water is being treated for contamination, the water department said in a statement, but it was too early to tell how much.
The New Orleans area is home to the largest concentration of concentrated wastewater in the U.S. and has long struggled to deal with the consequences of the drought.
The area is among the poorest in the nation.
The water department did not say how long the water was being pumped from the river, and whether it had a backup system.
The victims, from all over Louisiana, were in the same age bracket as the three other people who drowned, the agency said.
The children were found in separate homes, and they were found dead at a church, the health department reported.
The department said the man died of dehydration, and that the two other children had been injured.
The agency said there was no evidence that the water had been improperly treated.
Water department spokesman Jason Brown said there had been no water leaks and no incidents involving human or animal contact.
The storm dumped up to two feet of rain on the area, the highest amount in recent memory, and residents there have been complaining about poor drainage, Brown said.
The deaths were the latest in a string of drownings in Louisiana.
In April, two people died in New Orleans and one person died in Baton Rouge.
In August, four people drowned in the area and one man was charged with drowning in Lake Pontchartrain.