At least five people have died in the US since Sunday (29) due to the impacts of hurricane Ida, which, when losing strength, became a tropical storm and hit the southeast of the country, especially the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. More than a million Americans are without electricity.
On Monday night (30), two people died and ten were injured after torrential rains led to the collapse of a highway in Mississippi. In Louisiana, one man drowned while trying to maneuver his car in New Orleans, and another after a tree fell in Prairieville. A fifth death was confirmed by the New York Times on Tuesday night (31) after a woman was found dead in southern New Orleans.
In Slidell, about 50 km away, a man disappeared after being bitten by a crocodile on Monday, in a region that was flooded, with water up to the knee. The 71-year-old victim’s wife managed to save him from the attack, but after leaving to seek help as the injuries were severe, her husband was missing.
Entergy, the Louisiana power company, said it “would take days to determine the extent of damage to the grid and much longer to restore electrical transmission to the region.”
The shortage of electricity and, in some places, the lack of water are worrying because of the heat wave that is approaching the two states on Tuesday, according to an alert from the National Weather Service.
President Joe Biden approved Louisiana’s request for a federal declaration of disaster and Mississippi’s request for an emergency declaration, which makes it easier to send federal aid to complement state efforts. “We knew that Hurricane Ida had the potential to do massive damage and that’s exactly what we saw,” the Democrat said in a statement Monday.
More than 3,600 employees of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were sent to the hardest-hit regions, as well as 3.4 million meals, millions of liters of water and nearly 200 power generators, he said. the White House in a statement.
“The biggest concern is that we are still doing search and rescue and we have people across southeast Louisiana who are in difficult places,” state governor John Bel Edwards told NBC. On Tuesday, he warned that those who left the region are not yet to return until the emergency office says it is safe.
Still counting the damage left by Ida, some American regions estimate that the infrastructure built after the devastating passage of Hurricane Katrina, 16 years ago, proved to be efficient. The phenomenon left over 1,800 dead at the time.
In New Orleans, the projected levee system with about $15 billion managed to stop part of the advance of water and remained standing, preventing the region from being flooded. “The dollars from state and federal partners invested in our levee system were not wasted. However, we must repair our broken power grid,” wrote Mayor LaToya Cantrell on a social network.
Now downgraded to a tropical depression, the Ida heads to Tennessee and Massachusetts in the next few days. Tennessee counties are under flood alert, which means conditions are favorable for flooding, including in an area of the state still recovering from record rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Fred.
Consensus is growing in the American scientific community that the rapid intensification of the hurricane is rooted in climate change.
“We know that, in general, hurricanes are intensifying more quickly,” Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, an organization linked to the conservation of biodiversity, told CNN. “They’re bigger and stronger than they would otherwise be, they have a lot more rainfall associated with them, and rising sea levels exacerbate the storm surge.”