A powerful Category 4 hurricane made landfall over Louisiana, in the southern United States. The state has spent weeks preparing for potential natural disasters that could collapse emergency services. On the minds of most citizens is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which drove thousands of them towards the interior of the continent.
Hurricane Ida is already beginning to be felt in the southern United States. Louisiana was the state that experienced the entry of this strong Category 4 hurricane, out of 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and its intensity has increased in recent hours.
Ida just hit the 16th anniversary of the deadly Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans, in the same state.
After Ida’s strong arrival, President Joe Biden held a press conference in which he warned that this climate phenomenon is dangerous to life. Massive devastation is expected, Biden said, characterized by power outages that could last for weeks for residents near the Gulf Coast.
“The devastation is likely to be enormous. We shouldn’t deceive ourselves…we will do everything in our power to rescue and recover. I have been present during many hurricanes, and I think we have never had much preparation,” the president added.
Biden on Hurricane Ida at FEMA Headquarters: “The devastation would probably be massive. We shouldn’t kid ourselves.”
“We will put the full power of the country behind the rescue and recovery…I’ve been around for so many hurricanes, and I don’t think we’ve had much preparation before.” pic.twitter.com/mLsxt9ip8g
– Andrew Solender August 29, 2021
According to tracking app PowerOutage, more than 122,000 Louisiana homes and businesses have already lost electricity, most of it in the southeastern part of the state. Southern Governor John Bel Edwards said Ida may be the worst hurricane in the region since the 1850s.
Just three days after emerging as a tropical storm in the Caribbean, Ida turned into a hurricane recording winds of up to 240 kilometers per hour and causing powerful storm surges that led to coastal flooding.
Of greatest concern is the resilience of the health system, which has been outfitted with generators and water heaters to ensure power and hot water for patients. Some patients in coastal areas, such as Morgan City, were moved to the facility, toward the center of the state.
This issue is of particular concern when Louisiana continues to suffer greatly from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a significant number of its residents have not been vaccinated.
John Bel Edwards said 5,000 National Guard soldiers were stationed in 14 churches to ensure search and rescue efforts in vehicles, boats and helicopters. There are 10,000 electricians ready to respond to a blackout.
Edwards emphasized the state’s system for hurricane risk reduction. The National Guard has been activated with emergency operations and the state’s fire chief’s office has more than 100 boats in southern Louisiana. State officials are ready to respond to widespread power outages and shelter services are being provided throughout the state.
Edwards also urged residents to evacuate to the north and west of the state, stressing preparing food and water along with medicines and following storm updates to better control the situation.
The packing also progressed quickly
“This is going to be a storm that can change the lives of the unprepared,” Benjamin Schott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said during a news conference with the governor on Friday.
With thousands of people headed to the airport, a spokesperson for the District’s Transportation Security Administration recommended that travelers from New Orleans contact their airlines to reschedule suspended flights and confirmed airport closures and flight cancellations. Arrival and departure.
#HurricaneIda Update: All incoming and outgoing flights scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday 8/29) have been canceled due to the expected hurricane.
– New Orleans Airport (flyneworleans) August 29, 2021
On Friday, President Biden granted Louisiana’s request for an emergency declaration, the Federal Emergency Agency’s mandate to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Tate Reeves also declared a state of emergency on Saturday before the storm.
Thousands of people decided to leave their vacations and homes to avoid putting themselves at risk in the days before the storms. The interior of the state is seen as an area where the risk of flooding is much lower.
Louisiana will test its dams
In memory of the majority of the population of this southern state, the bitter memory left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 lives on. This hurricane particularly affected the vulnerable groups of the population and left 1,800 people dead.
To avoid this, in recent years a series of dams have been built on the sea and the coast to try to avoid big waves and floods, something that will be tested as the Ida passes.
The National Weather Service in New Orleans urged many residents who don’t have indoor rooms in their homes to move to a closet or bathroom for protection. The authorities have also provided assistance to thousands of displaced persons to face the obvious danger.
The authorities are confident in the measures to contain the dams, although they have expressed doubts about the situation in the south of the state, where there are still several kilometers to be built. Louisiana is a state with a very low average elevation and sinks easily.
With the Associated Press and Reuters.