Sunday Hurricane Ida made landfall with a vengeance on the 16th anniversary of the deadly Hurricane Katrina with winds over 150mph. In a rarity, Hurricane Ida caused the Mississippi River to reverse the flow of the river. The powerful storm knocked out power in New Orleans, with residents struggling in the summer heat without air conditioning and refrigeration. The only power in the city coming from generators. There was limited time to order a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans as Hurricane Ida went from an intense storm to a category four hurricane in a matter of days.
Two people have been reported dead, with the number expected to rise, according to the Governor. But, as winds ripped rooftops away and water overflowed into the streets, the levees did not fail. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said there were a few smaller levees that were overtopped, to some degree, and for some duration of time, and that did result in some people’s homes are being flooded, but they did not fail.”
Government officials are warning residents who were able to evacuate to delay returning until power is restored. Officials estimate in some hardest-hit areas, power could be out for weeks. The natural disaster is also affecting medical care. New Orleans has seen increasing COVID-19 cases due to low vaccination rates and the delta variant. Hospitals already stretched to capacity due to COVID are struggling to find room for those injured during the hurricane.
Monday, President Biden said in a virtual meeting with FEMA, mayors, and governors from states affected by Hurricane Ada, that the White House is doing everything it can to get power up and running. More than 5,000 National Guard members were deployed to help with search and rescue efforts. “We’re going to stand with you and the people of the Gulf as long as it takes for you to recover,” President Biden said. With areas in New Orleans still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Bel Edwards says recovery efforts in Louisiana will be “a fairly long ordeal.”
Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSanders20 or @DanieSandersOfficial.