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Louisiana is struggling to recover from Hurricane Ida, the fifth largest storm in the United States on record. A million households are without electricity or clean water and it could take days if not weeks for the situation to recover.
Posted on Aug 30, 2021 at 6:16 am Updated at 11:49 pm
milie Bilodeau The press
Streets turned into rivers. Overturned traffic light. Collapsed walls. Pouf roofs… Katie Duplass did not sleep overnight from Sunday to Monday because of the strong and particularly loud gusts. “I’ve never seen such a violent storm. The wind did a lot of damage. Several trees have been uprooted and debris such as fences and rubbish are all over the ground, ”says the man who has always lived in New Orleans.
Katie Duplass’s home was neither damaged nor flooded. Since electricity and drinking water will only be available again after a few days, the woman was looking for an apartment for her family on Monday when she gave an interview to La Presse.
According to various sources, Hurricane Ida reached wind speeds between 230 km / h and 240 km / h. The entire city of New Orleans was cut off from the electricity grid in the middle of the night on Sunday evening. Hospitals that are already at full capacity due to COVID-19 and water pumping stations are powered by generators. 911 remains out of service in several cities. All those in need were advised to go to the nearest fire station, wrote the New Orleans Emergency Communications Center on Twitter.
Bradley Wilson, who was staying with a friend in New Orleans’ French Quarter, said he was afraid of the force of the gusts.
It was worse than Hurricane Katrina. The wind was so strong that you could hear and feel it through concrete walls. We were afraid to open our doors and not be strong enough to close them.
Only one death has been recorded in Prairieville, a suburb of Baton Rouge. The victim was hit by a broken tree, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s office confirmed. The work of the rescuers was also hampered by many roads disrupted by flooding, fallen trees or broken power lines.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called Ida’s damage to the power grid “catastrophic”. He said he expected the death toll to rise with the hours. On Monday, the White House announced that it had deployed 3,500 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) employees on site. They distributed 3.4 million meals during the day.
From hurricane to hurricane
Louisians have also reported receiving last-minute briefings on the hurricane’s category 4 (out of 5) trajectory. Officials said Ida escalated into an extremely powerful hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico too quickly to organize a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans’ 390,000 residents. Many of them didn’t have enough gasoline to escape or the money to afford transportation to a safe place.
Ida landed exactly 16 years after Katrina to the day. This “monster” caused dike breaches and fatal floods: 1,800 people were killed in this hurricane on August 29, 2005. The New Orleans authorities also emphasize that the levee system has been significantly strengthened since that disaster.
Hurricane Ida turned into a tropical storm early Monday and moved on to Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the United States.
With Agence France-Presse and Associated Press