(Trends Wide) — From Louisiana to New York, communities are trying to rebuild their lives more than a week after Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast.
When it made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, Ida was a Category 4 hurricane; and although it weakened into a tropical depression when it reached the northeast, it brought devastation to the region.
In both areas of the US, roads were turned into rivers, lives were lost and structures were destroyed by high winds and rising waters. Recovery and repair could take weeks in some places, authorities said.
Right after landing, more than a million people were without power in Louisiana. A week later, more than 530,000 customers are in the dark, according to PowerOutage.US. The lack of power coincides with a fuel shortage, making it a “double whammy,” Jefferson District President Cynthia Lee Sheng told CBS “Face the Nation.”
“I wonder where the help is,” St. Charles District resident Eric Mertz said Friday. “I don’t have air conditioning. There are no lights. I had covid last year. I was in the ICU for 14 days, and I’m receiving oxygen (treatments) (now). And I don’t have electricity, it’s hard.”
In Queens, New York, those affected by the storm were seeking resources to aid recovery on Sunday. Some needed help to get their utilities back, some needed help with water damage, and some needed help with emotional trauma.
“If you’re driving through Queens, it looks like a bomb went off. Everyone’s personal belongings are on the street and we’ve seen what it looks like in the South after a hurricane. This is Queens today. It’s horrible,” Barbara Amarantinis told Trends Wide, Queens resident.
Due to climate change, destruction like that seen in both the Gulf and the East Coast from extreme weather will be “our new normal,” Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell warned Sunday.
“This is the crisis of our generation, these impacts that we are seeing from climate change, and we have to act now to try to protect ourselves from the future risks that we are going to face,” Criswell said during an interview on Fox on Sunday.
Hundreds of thousands without power in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida
In Louisiana, not only was the storm damage severe, but the impact on utilities has made recovery even more difficult for many parts of the state.
The state still has a long way to go in its recovery process, and the biggest challenge is electricity, Governor John Bel Edwards said.
More than 550,000 customers were still without power in Louisiana this Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.US.
Responding to a journalist’s question, the governor said that it is necessary to strengthen the electrical infrastructure. While the infrastructure will be hard-pressed to withstand a storm as strong as Hurricane Ida, he said it appears to need to be strengthened to get closer to doing so.
Some parts of the Jefferson district experienced “more broken power poles (and) downed utility lines than we’ve had in history” due to Hurricane Ida, said in a Saturday update from district councilman Dominick Impastato.
“There is not a neighborhood that has been saved, there is not a street that has been saved, there is not a neighborhood that does not have a lot of broken power poles,” Impastato said.
Much of the US came to the aid of the state after Ida to help displaced people and restore downed utilities.
“The Louisiana National Guard has 7,568 members with the help of 9 states,” Edwards said in a series of tweets during the weekend.
More than 30,000 Civil Guardsmen from 40 states were assisting with the power restoration, Edwards said.
And as the region looks to get things back to work, some officials are also looking to the changes that could be made in the future.
At least seven people have died after being evacuated from a nursing home to a warehouse in the Tangipahoa district, Louisiana, Trends Wide reported. In response, State Senator Kirk Talbot said he wants to require backup generators in nursing homes.
“I can tell you that the first bill that I will introduce next year will be to require nursing homes to have backup power generators,” Talbot told Trends Wide affiliate WDSU.
‘A storm in a century’ hits the east
After studying the damage in Louisiana on Friday, President Joe Biden will travel to New Jersey and New York on Tuesday to assess the impact on the East Coast, where the storm killed at least 50 people.
Paterson, NJ Mayor André Sayegh lamented the destruction, telling Trends Wide: “As if a single virus in a century was not enough, we had a storm only in a century.”
In Paterson alone, about 300 people have been rescued, nearly 100 cars were abandoned across the city and 30 families were seeking refuge in emergency shelters on Saturday, Sayegh said.
Many of the rescue efforts have been arduous, such as the help of a man on the banks of the Passaic River near a bridge. Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott described how Paterson’s Metro Urban Strike Team drilled a hole in the concrete bridge, opening multiple layers of rebar and rebar to see the underside of the bridge and eventually pull out to the man.
“All while the storm rages, the winds howl and we are handling a third fire alarm. An ambulance trapped with people. One hundred and fifty people calling for help and only in 22 square kilometers … A lot going on,” “McDermott said commenting on the general rescue operations of your team.
In Elizabeth, New Jersey, a mother, father and son drowned in their apartment building, authorities said.
Rosa Espinal, 72, her husband José Torres, 71, and their son José Torres, 38, died when more than 10 feet of water soaked their apartment in a residential complex, a spokeswoman for Trends Wide told Trends Wide on Friday. the city Kelly Martins. Her neighbor, Shakia Garrett, 33, also drowned, Martins said
In New York, the initial assessment of the damage Ida left behind is estimated at at least $ 50 million, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Displaced New Yorkers will be eligible to receive funds for temporary housing assistance, unemployment assistance, legal services, crisis counseling and home repairs, he said.
Trends Wide’s Polo Sandoval, Sara Jorgensen, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Linh Tran, Rick Hall, Jason Hoffman, Elizabeth Joseph, and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.