By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Hurricane Ida, one of America’s most powerful storms on record, hit southeast Louisiana Sunday, killing at least one person. The storm wreaked havoc precisely 16 years after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans, leaving more than 1,800 people dead.
Embattled President Joe Biden, already dealing with a miscalculated crisis in Afghanistan, pledged Sunday to “put the country’s full weight” behind rescue-and-recovery efforts.He spoke while the roof was blown off a south Louisiana hospital with patients inside, which critics viewed as a visible reminder of how the storm collided with a strained health system.
Elsewhere, the Louisiana sheriff’s office reported the first death from Hurricane Ida. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook website that deputies responded to a report of someone injured by a fallen tree. At the home in Prairieville, they later confirmed the unidentified person’s death. Prairieville is a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital city.
Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon in the U.S. state of Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of about 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour.
It has since weakened to a Category 3 with 125 miles per hour winds, but the mega-storm was unleashing damaging wind gusts in New Orleans along with flooding rain.
“It’s definitely an odd thing to be watching this hurricane on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall at virtually the same place,” said hurricanes expert Brian McNoldy of the University of Miami. He spoke to the NBC News network while nearly 1 million people in New Orleans and surrounding cities were put under a flash flood warning through Sunday night. Authorities also declared a “life-threatening” flash flood “emergency” in some communities south of New Orleans, near the Mississippi River.
That wasn’t enough to prevent massive destruction, with more than 600,000 customers losing power in Louisiana. And, authorities warned that widespread power outages could last weeks.
The storm made for dramatic television. A Fox News T.V. reporter standing in a garage was nearly blown away when daring to walk outside. Another man could be seen running to push the reporter back to relative safety during the live broadcast.
Amid the raging storm, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards requested a ‘Presidential Major Disaster Declaration.’ It helps pay for relief, including housing assistance, counseling, medical services, and legal services.
In a statement obtained by Worthy News, Governor Edwards, a Democrat, warned that surge and damaging winds would continue to impact areas further inland through Monday. “Hurricane Ida is one of the strongest storms ever to hit Louisiana,” he noted.
“It is our goal to assist our local agencies and the citizens of the state as quickly as possible. And we have pre-positioned search and rescue teams, boats, and other assets to begin helping people as soon as it is safe.”
He said that the president’s disaster declaration would help Louisiana “better respond to this crisis and protect the health and safety of our people.” But, he added: “I hope the White House will act quickly so we can begin getting additional aid and assistance to our people.”
Governor Edwards said, however, that “President Biden and the [Federal Emergency Management Agency] FEMA have worked with us on the response in the days leading up to the storm making landfall.”
As the region remembers the 16th anniversary of deadly Hurricane Katrina, he said it was “important that we, once again, roll up our sleeves and continue a coordinated response and recovery.”
However, the 54-year-old governor stressed he was “confident that we can get the job done with our federal and local partners. And overcome the latest challenge to the state.”
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