It was his second visit in less than a week to inspect the damage caused by the hurricane, and then a tropical storm, Ida. On Friday in Louisiana and this Tuesday in New York and New Jersey, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, has emphasized the threats of climate change to defend the main bet of his domestic agenda: the gigantic infrastructure plan, which It includes numerous measures to promote a green economy and to renovate obsolete constructions, such as bridges or roads, unable to withstand the onslaught of extreme natural phenomena such as those manifested by Ida. The world is facing a “red alert” for the risk of climate change, the Democrat warned. “This is not an exaggeration, it is a fact.”
Biden today visited Manville, in the State of New Jersey, and the borough of Queens, in New York City, where there were a dozen deaths from flooding and torrential rains, mostly drowned in illegal homes located in basements. . “No one will be immune to climate change because climate change is already here,” the president has warned. One in three Americans lives in territories that have been affected by severe weather events in recent months.
“The country has realized that global warming is real and is progressing incredibly fast,” said the president in New Jersey. “I think we are at one of those inflection points, where either we act now or we are going to have real problems; our children are going to have serious problems ”. During his tour of Queens, the president doubled the warnings: “We have to listen to scientists, economists and national security experts. They all tell us that this is a red alert ”.
In both visits, the president insisted that “the entire country is being affected by extreme weather and now we are living in real time what the US will be like” in the short and medium term if no measures are taken. “We cannot reverse it much, but we can prevent it from getting worse,” he said, emphasizing that the damage and human and material losses caused by the rains “are considerable.”
Biden approved this Monday the declaration of “major disaster”, the equivalent of a catastrophic zone, in several counties of both states. The declaration implies the granting of federal aid to local administrations for reconstruction work; also to individuals, for temporary accommodation, home repair and low-cost loans to repair the damage caused by the floods. The White House had previously approved the declaration of a state of emergency for both states on Friday. That same day, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, estimated the amount of damages in the State at more than 30 million dollars.
Also this Tuesday, the White House sent Congress an urgent request for funds, amounting to 14,000 million dollars, as aid for reconstruction in places affected by natural disasters prior to Ida. The petition stated that more billions will be needed to respond to the damage caused by this storm.
“In the last few months alone, 100 million Americans have been affected by extreme weather, obviously in the Northeast, in the West with wildfires and then on the Gulf Coast,” explained Jen Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, to the journalists who accompanied the president. The blows of Ida, downgraded from a category 4 hurricane to a tropical storm, killed more than 50 people a week ago between New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The White House hopes that the realization of the ravages of climate change, from Louisiana to New York, will help move forward in Congress the two infrastructure plans, the physical infrastructure and the social coverage. The criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan and the worrying domestic front of the pandemic, due to the delta variant, have provoked the uneasiness of the democrat, who clings to the mantra of the necessary reconstruction of the country – post-pandemic recovery, but also a root renewal of infrastructure built decades ago – to convince the opposition and his own party. “It is imperative to act to address the climate crisis and invest through the program Rebuild better [nombre de uno de los planes de infraestructura] that is debated in Congress ”, emphasized Psaki.
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