President Joe Biden spoke to the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi in a virtual briefing on Monday (August 30) following the initial impact of Hurricane Ida. State and local leaders shared updates with the president on relief and rescue efforts and plans to begin cleaning up communities devastated by the storm.
“We know Hurricane Ida had the potential to cause massive, massive damage, and that’s exactly what we saw,” Biden said from the White House. Biden, who was accompanied by Senior White Adviser and former Louisiana congressman, Cedric Richmond, announced what action the federal government has taken to address the aftermath of the storm, which has left New Orleans completely without power and over a million people across the state of Louisiana without electricity.
Biden shared that over 5,000 members of the National Guard have been deployed to assist with rescue and recovery efforts in some of the hardest-hit areas and urged people in the affected communities to shelter in place while authorities assess damage to the energy infrastructure.
“We’re doing all we can to minimize the amount of time it’s going to take to get power back up for everyone in the region,” Biden said. The Federal Aviation Administration is working alongside energy companies in Louisiana and Mississippi to use drones to assess damage, Biden revealed. The Defense Department also announced it would be sending in equipment to support relief efforts, too.
For residents who’ve lost cellular service, Biden said the Federal Communications Commission is working on getting signal to anyone in the area, regardless of what carrier a person has.
“This is going to be a long haul,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told Biden. “We are still in a life-saving mode here, doing search and rescue.”
Officials are closely monitoring Hurricane Ida, despite it being downgraded to a tropical storm. Areas of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee are under watch as the storm trudges northward.
Additional resources in place include 2.5 million meals, 3 million liters of water and generators, response teams in position throughout the region. Local partners are also setting up “dozens and dozens” of shelters.
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If you or someone you know has been impacted by Hurricane Ida, click here for resources.