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Taylor Swift donates $1m to Louisiana flood victims

Pop star Taylor Swift is to donate $1m (£770,000) to help the victims of the latest floods to devastate the United States.

Torrential rains have lashed parts of the southern state of Louisiana, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

At least 11 people are feared to have died in the disaster, described by the National Weather Service as a once in 1,000-year event.

Among those who lost their homes was The Wire and Treme actor Wendell Pierce, whose house was badly damaged when water swept through the city of Baton Rouge.

Swift said she felt compelled to contribute towards a fund set up to help those affected because of the welcome she received there last year during her world tour.

She told the Associated Press: "We began The 1989 World Tour in Louisiana, and the wonderful fans there made us feel completely at home.

"The fact that so many people in Louisiana have been forced out of their own homes this week is heartbreaking.

"I encourage those who can to help out and send your love and prayers their way during this devastating time."

At least 40,000 homes have been damaged, 30,000 people have had to be rescued by the emergency services and more than 60,000 have registered for disaster aid.

In the Parish of Livingston, one of the hardest-hit areas with about 138,000 people, an official estimated that 75% of the homes were a total loss.

The White House has declared four Louisiana counties as major disaster areas.

Pierce, 52, a native of Louisiana whose parents home was damaged when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, told TMZ he had lost everything.

The actor, who has also starred in a string of movies including A Rage In Harlem, Malcolm X, Waiting to Exhale and Ray, said: "I don't know what I'm going to do. I just lost everything."

The authorities have now started the grim task of going door to door and car to car to check for undiscovered bodies.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said on Tuesday: "Our state is currently experiencing a historic flooding event that is breaking every record.

"This event is ongoing, it is not over.

"We do not know when the floodwaters will recede, and they will continue to rise in some areas."

In July, dozens of people died after Storm Jonas caused flash floods in Texas and Oklahoma.

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