Washington / New York (AP) – US President Joe Biden on Friday visits the disaster area in the southern United States that was hit by devastating Hurricane Ida.
Biden is heading to New Orleans, Louisiana, as the White House has announced. “Ida” first wreaked havoc in the southern United States. Then, the storm eased over land and moved northeast, causing heavy rains and flooding in several states. Dozens of people have been killed.
At least 23 people have died in New Jersey state alone, according to the governor. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday evening (local time): “It is my sad duty to announce that we have now lost a total of 13 New Yorkers due to last night’s storm. . ” CNN put the total death toll from the storm in the six northeastern states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia at at least 45.
In a very short time, the streets turned into raging rivers in Wednesday night’s storm, people were trapped in their cars by the deadly water masses. “It is absolutely heartbreaking,” said New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. She spoke on CNN of a “devastating event” and “unexpected torrential rains”. In Central Park in New York, for example, 80 millimeters of rain fell in an hour – the all-time New York record of 49 millimeters, which was not reached until the end of August, was literally sprayed.
“We are in a time when historic rains are the norm,” Hochul said. “It will no longer be a rare event.”
“Ida” hit the southwest coast of New Orleans on Sunday as a dangerous four-in-five hurricane. Thunderstorms were expected on the storm’s path to the northeast, but not with such severity. A state of emergency has been declared in New York and elsewhere.
The White House had announced Biden’s visit to the disaster area of New Orleans on Wednesday afternoon – hours before catastrophic rains in the northeast. Biden said Thursday that “Ida” was the fifth strongest hurricane in the United States since the records began. In the southern disaster area, the storm claimed the lives of at least six people and caused “unimaginable damage”. In California, in the western United States, violent forest fires continue to rage. Biden has pledged his support for those affected by natural disasters.
“Hurricane Ida, wildfires in the west and unprecedented flooding in New York and New Jersey in recent days are yet another reminder that the climate crisis is here,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “We need to be better prepared.” The infrastructure must be adapted to the most difficult conditions. The US president called on Congress to pass appropriate laws. Biden has made tackling climate change one of his most important goals.
“The entire federal government will do everything possible to help Americans who desperately need it after a catastrophic storm,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki (local time) said Thursday evening. Biden has taken steps to ensure fuel availability and avoid bottlenecks in the aftermath of the storm.