US President Joe Biden traveled to Louisiana on Friday to get a glimpse of the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida, the monster storm that devastated the southern part of the state and left a million people without electricity.
Biden, in shirt sleeves and rolled up boots, was greeted at the airport by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who said Thursday there was no substitute “for actually being on the ground, speak with local officials and see firsthand the utter devastation the state of Louisiana suffered as a result of Hurricane Ida. ”
Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast last weekend and pushed its way north through the eastern United States, culminating in torrential rains and widespread flooding in New York City, in the New Jersey and surrounding areas Wednesday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Friday the state confirmed two more deaths overnight, bringing its total to 25. He said at least six people were still missing and the number of deaths would probably increase.
On Sunday, the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the United States hit southern Louisiana, cutting off power to more than a million customers and water to 600,000 others, creating miserable conditions for them. affected people, who also experienced suffocating heat and humidity.
At least nine deaths have been reported in Louisiana, with at least 46 others killed in the northeast, Reuters news agency reported.
“My message to everyone involved is, ‘We’re all in the same boat. The nation is here to help, ”Biden said Thursday.
Biden will visit a neighborhood in LaPlace, a small community about 56 kilometers (35 miles) west of New Orleans that has been devastated by flooding, downed trees and other storm damage, and will speak out a speech on the response of his administration.
He will conduct an aerial tour of hard-hit communities, including Laffite, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Lafourche Parish, before meeting with local leaders in Galliano, Louisiana, the White House said.
Officials who flew over the storm damage reported amazing scenes of small towns turned into matchsticks and large, blown ships.
Biden also urged private insurance companies to pay homeowners who left before the storm, but not necessarily under a mandatory evacuation order.
Electricity is expected to be restored to almost all of New Orleans by Wednesday, utility company Entergy said in a statement Friday. But not all customers will have power back into the city, according to the company, because customers damaged where the electricity enters their home will have to fix it themselves, and some smaller areas could take longer. of time.
The company asked for patience, recognizing the heat and misery in the aftermath of Ida. Entergy said more than 25,000 workers in 40 states were repairing the 14,000 damaged poles, 2,223 broken transformers and 155 destroyed transmission structures.
Meanwhile, the New York City area was still struggling with crippling flooding from Ida.
Residents of vast swathes of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut faced waterlogged basements, power outages, damaged roofs, and calls for help. friends and relatives stranded by the floods.
“We will no longer say that this will not happen again in our lifetime,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at a press briefing on Friday.
“It could literally happen again next week,” Hochul said, “and we have to prepare for it.”
She said 100 people had to be rescued from flooded homes and vehicles on Thursday and at least 7,800 people in the state are without power.
Work continues after Tropical Storm Ida flooded parts of New York State. Members of our underwater recovery team work along Sprain Brook Drive in Yonkers, checking stranded vehicles. pic.twitter.com/28q7enfjfA
– NewYorkStatePolice (@nyspolice) September 2, 2021
At least 15 have died in New York state, Hochul said, including 13 in New York, where the deaths of people trapped in flooded basements highlighted the risk of increasingly extreme weather events. .
Biden approved a declaration of emergency in New Jersey and New York and ordered federal assistance to complement state and local response efforts, the White House said Thursday.