As many as 30 more levees may overflow along the Mississippi River from Burlington, Iowa, down to St. Louis, U.S. government officials report, if sandbagging efforts don't suffice. This week saw 20 levees already breached by flood waters this week., the Army Corps of Engineers said.

The levees protect rural, industrial and agricultural areas, not heavily populated towns. Officials said that most levees protecting large towns are not as at risk.

Record-breaking storms and flooding across six states this month are still forcing thousands of people to evacuate.As many as 30 more levees may overflow along the Mississippi River from Burlington, Iowa, down to St. Louis, the government said Wednesday. Twenty levees already have been topped by flood waters this week, the Army Corps of Engineers said. Twenty to 30 other levees could overflow if sandbagging efforts fail to raise the height of the structures.

The levees in danger protect rural, industrial and agricultural areas, not heavily populated towns. The levees protecting large towns are not as at risk of overflowing, officials said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said two levees in Illinois have broken and a dam in Morgan County, Ind., has been significantly damaged.

FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said that as of Wednesday afternoon, officials shifted concern to flooding between St. Louis and the Quad Cities-- Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa, Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. Paulison believes the lower part of the Mississippi will absorb the increased water flow without much impact. He said that FEMA will help cleanup major debris, oil and hazardous materials, and provide health and medical support. As of Wednesday, no states have requested FEMA trailers.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be testing water and air quality. Officials also expect maritime transportation to be closed for at least a week.

More than 28,000 people have registered for FEMA disaster assistance. Paulison said only 9 percent of them have flood insurance. Those without flood insurance are limited in what federal assistance they can receive.

Source: Associated Press