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Iran Press TV

Biden declares major disaster in Louisiana as hurricane leaves over 1 million homes with no power

Iran Press TV

Monday, 30 August 2021 7:40 AM

US President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in the state of Louisiana as powerful Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday afternoon.

"Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the state of Louisiana and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ida beginning on August 26, 2021, and continuing", the White House said on Sunday.

Hurricane Ida, ripping through as a fierce Category 4 storm, plowed into Louisiana from the Gulf Mexico knocking out power for over one million homes and businesses. The hurricane lashed the coast with 150 mile-per-hour winds, torrential downpours and pounding surf that submerged much of the shoreline.

"Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the White House added.

Power was knocked out Sunday night to the entire New Orleans metropolitan area with the failure of all transmission lines that deliver electricity to Louisiana's largest city.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office (APSO) released the first official report of a death related to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana. The death was likely caused by a fallen tree at a suburb near Baton Rouge.

In Mississippi, more than 40,000 customers were left without power. The Mississippi River in New Orleans reversed its flow on Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The city, which has a population of about 384,000, was left without electricity because of damage to energy facilities caused by Hurricane Ida.

Residents of the most vulnerable coastal areas were ordered to evacuate ahead of Ida. Those riding out the storm in their homes in New Orleans braced for the toughest test yet of major upgrades to a levee system constructed following devastating floods in 2005 from Katrina, according to media reports.

"I almost found myself in a panic attack when news announced this was the anniversary of Katrina," Janet Rucker, a lifelong New Orleans resident who took shelter in a downtown hotel.

The hurricane suspended emergency medical services in New Orleans and elsewhere across Louisiana as it was already reeling from a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections that has strained the state's healthcare system.

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