Louisiana faced “catastrophic” damage from Hurricane Ida

(New Orleans) Blackouts, streets flooded, roofs demolished … Louisiana residents measured the extent of damage caused by Hurricane Ida on Monday and their governor described them as “catastrophic”.

Posted on Aug 30, 2021 at 6:16 am Updated at 8:59 pm

Daxia ROJAS Agence France-Presse

The first very tangible consequence of Ida’s gusts: More than a million households were still without electricity on Monday evening, as the specialist website PowerOutage.US announced.

With wind speeds of 240 km / h, Ida hit the coast of Louisiana on Sunday.

“The damage is really catastrophic,” lamented Governor John Bel Edwards to NBC. At least two people were killed, the first falling from a tree in the market town of Prairieville and the second trying to cross a flooded street in New Orleans.

With the support of the National Guard, the US Emergency Services Agency, FEMA, sent more than 5,200 people to help the victims, the Pentagon assured.

Federal aid will continue “as long as necessary,” President Joe Biden said at a meeting with FEMA officials and governors and mayors of affected communities.

In the town of LaPlace, west of New Orleans, which Ida had badly hit, members of the National Guard spent the day rescuing residents trapped in the waters, assisted by several helicopters, trucks and boats.

“We were about fifteen in a hotel,” says Jonathan Guity, 30, on the night of the hurricane, a baby in his arms that was just rescued by a helicopter.

“There was a lot of wind and when we wanted to leave the hotel the next day, there was too much water,” he says at least two meters further.

The damage was less in historic downtown New Orleans, Louisiana’s largest city, where some took to the streets, defied authorities’ instructions to stay home, and faced the risk of flash floods or electric shocks.

Craig Anderson, 67, on Monday inspected his red car, the windshield of which was damaged by a large falling tile. “I’m lucky I wasn’t in (the vehicle),” he told AFP.

One hurricane chases the other

Destroyed gas stations, overturned trucks, sunken houses and streets: so many scenes of devastation that have become sadly redundant in this southern state of the United States, where one hurricane often drives another.

But as the ocean surface warms up, storms get stronger, scientists warn. In particular, they pose an increasing risk to coastal communities.

And everyone still thinks of the painful memory of Katrina, a hurricane that landed in Louisiana on August 29, 2005, 16 years before Ida’s arrival. More than 1,800 people had died and the damage amounted to billions of dollars.

“I was there for Katrina 16 years ago and the winds seemed worse this time,” Dereck Terry, 53, told AFP. “But the damage is less important, I have the impression,” says the man with the T-shirt with the image of Superman, an umbrella in his hand.

Insurance companies estimate that preliminary estimates put Hurricane Ida between $ 15 million and $ 20 million in damage.

Downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday evening, Ida is now racing over the Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the United States that is threatened by flooding.

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