Louisiana in the face of damage from Hurricane Ida

(New Orleans) Louisiana, largely without electricity, prepared Monday to uncover the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Ida, which killed at least one near New Orleans and flooded vast coastal areas.

Posted on Aug 30, 2021 at 6:16 am Updated at 8:33 am

Daxia ROJAS with Valentin GRAFF in Washington Agence France-Presse

Uprooting trees, destroying roofs or certain buildings, the hurricane fell through its violence on Sunday evening more than a million houses in the darkness, including the city of New Orleans, as the specialist website PowerOutage announced. US.

In Prairieville, near New Orleans, a person was killed by a fallen tree.

Placed in Category 4 with winds of 150 mph, when it began directly hitting the coasts of this southern state of the United States just before noon (1:00 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, the hurricane gradually weakened overnight and became Monday morning as a tropical storm through US meteorology.

On the local Monday at 4 a.m., the storm weakened further with wind speeds of 97 km / h as it penetrated inland, the weather services said. It should now go north and then east.

The risk of flooding remained on Monday and torrential rains continued to fall in the wake of the storm, particularly in the states of Mississippi and Alabama.

“We now have no electricity in the whole city! Now is the time to stay safe inside. Now is not the time to go out! ! New Orleans Mayoress LaToya Cantrell tweeted.

Floods

Residents of LaPlace, near New Orleans, called for help on social media, saying they were trapped by the rising water and the water flooded the levees in the town of Jean Lafitte, said Mayor Tim Kerner of WGNO, an ABC television partner .

“We have between 75 and 200 people stranded in Barataria,” he said. “The wind is still too strong, we can’t launch boats to retrieve them.”

In Lower Lafitte, some have taken refuge in their attics, according to Cynthia Lee Sheng, president of Jefferson Parish, which covers part of the New Orleans metropolitan area.

Entergy, which distributes electricity in southeast Louisiana, said it was providing emergency power to city departments in charge of pumping stations to help control the flooding.

The US National Weather Service had warned of the “deadly risk” of the hurricane and urged residents of the affected areas to “take all necessary measures to protect their lives and property”.

President Joe Biden had described Ida as “a potentially fatal cyclone” and declared Louisiana a state of great catastrophe that gave him access to federal aid. On Sunday he visited the headquarters of the US Crisis Management Agency (FEMA) and called on the population to take the threat seriously.

“Don’t go out”

Ida “will be one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” warned state governor John Bel Edwards.

“There is no doubt that the next days and weeks will be extremely difficult,” he said at a press conference.

On CNN, the governor had estimated that the expensive levee system that was built after the devastation of Katrina in 2005 had to “hold”. According to him, hundreds of thousands of residents have evacuated their homes.

The memory of Katrina, who landed on August 29, 2005, remains painful in Louisiana. More than 1,800 people had died and the damage amounted to billions of dollars.

The White House announced on Sunday that federal agencies have dispatched more than 2,000 emergency specialists, including search teams, as well as water, food and power generators.

As the surface of the oceans warms up, hurricanes get stronger, according to scientists. In particular, they pose an increasing risk to coastal communities.

And the hurricane hits a region whose hospital system has been brought to its knees by the highly contagious Delta variant that hit Louisiana hard, with nearly 2,700 hospital patients and as many daily deaths as at the height of the pandemic.

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