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River Town's Plea Brings Hundreds, as Levees Hold

IN 271-year-old Prairie du Rocher's hour of need, help came pouring in.

Convoys of rock-bearing dump trucks, cattle trucks, pickups. A flotilla of skiffs, laden to the waterline with sandbags. And hundreds of volunteers, enlisting in what may be the last great battle of the Flood of '93.

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Their efforts - including the dynamiting of a levee to drain off water - seemed to be paying off Wednesday as flood waters receded at Prairie du Rocher, Ill., where a plaque salutes the tenacity and "quiet fortitude" of its people.

The effort to save this village of 600, founded by French traders in 1722, came to symbolize the plight of little communities that often bore the brunt of the Midwest flood.

Nearly two months of flooding has caused at least $10 billion in damage in nine states.

In much of the rest of the flood zone, people are focusing on cleanup.

In other flood-related developments:

* The Senate approved $5.8 billion in relief for the flood victims Wednesday night. Negotiators will try to reconcile it with a $3 billion version passed last week by the House.

* Across the Mississippi from Prairie du Rocher, residents of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., anxiously awaited a river crest forecast for today. The historic downtown section was protected by a gravel and sandbag wall.

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* In St. Louis, about 10,000 people remained evacuated for fear that 30,000-gallon propane tanks that had been dislodged by flood waters would explode.

Officials considered burning off the propane in five damaged tanks but abandoned the plan as too risky. Instead, they planned to inject the tanks with water to force the gas to the top and prevent it from leaking out the bottom. WHERE TO SEND AID FOR FLOOD RELIEF American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund P.O. Box 37243 Washington, D.C. 20013 Salvation Army Disaster Relief P.O. Box 1621 Des Moines, Iowa 50306 Farm Aid P.O. Box 228 Champaign, IL 61824 Flood Bank 93 1416 Locust St. Des Moines, Iowa 50306 American Friends Service Committee Flood Relief Fund 4211 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50312 United Way 1111 9th St., Suite 300 Des Moines, Iowa 50314 The First Church of Christ, Scientist Midwest Flood Relief 175 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115 World Relief The National Associations of Evangelicals P.O. Box WRC Wheaton, ILL 60189 B'nai B'rith Disaster Relief Fund Midwest Relief 1640 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 Catholic Charities USA Midwest Flood Relief Processing Center 13331 Pennsylvania Avenue. Hagerstown, M.D. 21742 Feed the Children P.O. Box 36 Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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