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More mudslide victims found as state seeks new aid

Workers and volunteers search for articles and belongings at the scene of the deadly March 22 mudslide, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Oso, Wash. The number of confirmed dead has reached 24. More than two dozen people remain missing, authorities have said. (AP Photo/The Herald, Sofia Jaramillo, Pool)

Workers and volunteers search for articles and belongings at the scene of the deadly March 22 mudslide, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Oso, Wash. The number of confirmed dead has reached 24. More than two dozen people remain missing, authorities have said. (AP Photo/The Herald, Sofia Jaramillo, Pool)

An American flag hangs from the only cedar post left standing at the scene of a deadly mudslide, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Oso, Wash. (AP Photo/The Herald, Sofia Jaramillo)

A U.S. flag hangs at half-staff with Whitehorse Mountain behind, during the early morning of Monday, March 31, 2014, at the fire station in Darrington, Wash. Crews have cleared a path through the muck and devastation wrought by Washington’s deadly mudslide, making the painstaking search for victims easier. The makeshift road completed over the weekend links one side of the 300-acre debris field to the other. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A weary searcher bows his head as he walks out of the west side of the mudslide site with a small saw on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 in Arlington, Wash., on Sunday, March 30, 2014. Periods of rain and wind have hampered efforts the past two days, with some rain showers continuing today. Last night, the confirmed fatalities list was updated to 18, with the number of those missing falling from 90 to 30. (AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool)

A car passes a small flower memorial, Monday, March 31, 2014, at the fire station in Darrington, Wash., at the beginning of another week of searching for victims of the massive mudslide that hit the nearby community of Oso,Wash. Crews have cleared a path through the muck and devastation wrought by Washington’s deadly mudslide, making the painstaking search for victims easier. The makeshift road completed over the weekend links one side of the 300-acre debris field to the other. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Estimated financial losses from the deadly Washington mudslide that has killed at least 24 people have reached $10 million, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday in a letter asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration.

In seeking additional federal help following one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history, Inslee said about 30 families need assistance with housing, along with personal and household goods. The estimated losses include nearly $7 million in structures and more than $3 million in their contents, Inslee’s letter said.

The Snohomish County medical examiner’s office said Monday afternoon that it has received a total of 24 victims, and 18 of those have been positively identified. Previously, the official death toll was 21, with 15 victims identified.

The remains of three additional victims were found Monday, but they have not yet been included in the medical examiner’s official numbers, Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson told reporters at a Monday evening briefing.

The county sheriff’s office released a list Monday evening of 22 people believed missing following the March 22 slide that destroyed a rural mountainside community northeast of Seattle. That’s down from the 30 people officials previously considered missing.

“There’s been an exhaustive effort by the detectives to narrow the list down to one that they feel comfortable releasing,” Haakenson said.

“These are 22 people whose loved ones are grieving,” he said. “We want to do all we can to find them and put some closure in place for their families.”

He said there could be some overlap between the list of missing and the handful of victims who have not been positively identified by the medical examiner.

Steve Harris, a division supervisor for the search effort, said Monday that search teams have been learning more about the force of the slide, helping them better locate victims in a debris field that is 70 feet deep in places.

“There’s a tremendous amount of force and energy behind this,” Harris said of the slide.

Harris said search dogs are the primary tool for finding victims, and searchers are finding human remains four to six times per day. Sometimes crews only find partial remains, which makes the identification process harder.

Inslee’s request Monday also seeks federal help with funeral expenses, and mental health care programs for survivors, volunteers, community members and first responders.

He also is asking for access to disaster housing, disaster grants, disaster-related unemployment insurance, and crisis counseling programs for those in Snohomish County and for the Stillaguamish, Sauk-Suiattle and Tulalip Indian tribes.

Meanwhile, members of the Seattle Seahawks football team and Seattle Sounders soccer team visited with community members Monday evening.

___

Baumann reported from Seattle.

Associated Press

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