Aug. 30 (UPI) — The federal government will do everything in its power to help areas impacted by Hurricane Ida to recover quickly, President Joe Biden told state and local officials Monday.
Biden told Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and others during a virtual briefing that his administration is “there to help you get back on your feet” in the aftermath of flooding and destruction caused by the storm.
Ida arrived over land in Louisiana Sunday morning and carved a path northward, with a wind gust of 172 mph at its peak, the National Weather Service said. The Category 4 hurricane cut power to all of New Orleans, and the city issued a flash flood emergency.
The storm also caused flooding in neighboring Mississippi.
“We know Hurricane Ida had the potential to cause massive, massive damage, and that’s exactly what we saw,” Biden said.
The president said he has activated 5,000 National Guard troops to help with rescue and recovery efforts and joined local officials in urging those in affected areas to stay put in their homes for their safety until help arrives.
“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,” he said, adding, “People in Louisiana and Mississippi are resilient, but it is in moments like these that we can see the power of government to meet the needs of people and respond to people, if government is prepared to respond — that is our job.”
Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, said Monday that more than 880,000 of the utility’s customers throughout Louisiana remained without power, down from an estimated 1 million in the hours after Ida struck.
The president Sunday issued a pre-landfall “major disaster” declaration for Louisiana and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ida.
The federal response includes help from the Federal Aviation Administration, the departments of Defense and Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission.
The FAA, Biden said, will use its aviation drones to help electric utilities locate and repair downed power lines while the FCC will coordinate an effort by wireless carriers to enable users to tap the roaming services of any company still operating in the disaster areas.