Hurricane Ida makes landfall on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Over one million customers have been left without power in the state of Louisiana following the passing of Hurricane Ida in the southeast of the US

August 30, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Over one million customers have been left without power in the state of Louisiana following the passing of Hurricane Ida in the southeast of the US

Hurricane Ida made landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a category 4 hurricane with a windspeed of 150 miles per hour (or 230 kilometers per hour) on Sunday August 29 at 11:55 AM. According to the National Hurricane Center, it was the fifth strongest storm to have ever hit the US mainland. Its intensity has decreased and it has since been categorized as a tropical storm as it moves over the state of Mississippi.

The storm however, has already caused severe damage. More than one million customers across the state of Louisiana have been without electricity since Sunday and all major hospitals in the state’s largest city, New Orleans, are relying on generator power. Many attempted to shift patients from various hospitals as a precaution before the storm hit, however, scores of patients could not be moved from the affected regions in time and are now trapped. It has also affected the COVID-19 care amidst the ongoing fourth wave which has hit the state of Louisiana particularly hard, at the end of June the state was registering around 550 new cases of the virus and by mid-August the number rose to around 7,500.

Massive flooding has also been seen across the region and the storms powerful winds brought down many trees, power lines, and destroyed infrastructure blocking roads and creating a precarious and dangerous situation even after the passing of the storm. Other infrastructure such as gas, water, and sewage lines have also been destroyed at various places.

The state departments in the region have also issued warnings of life-threatening flash floods, storm surges, and tornadoes even after the hurricane had weakened. There were reports of Ida causing a reverse flow of water from the Mississippi River.

One man has been confirmed dead thus far who was killed after a tree fell on him in Prairieville, Louisiana but the state’s Governor John Bel Edwards told media that he expects the death toll to rise as rescue efforts continue. He said that the National Guard was dispatched to conduct rescue missions in parishes, including Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. John the Baptist and portions of Jefferson, where “homes have been damaged to the point where they’re uninhabitable.”

Painful anniversary

The fall of Ida on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina brought back the memories of the immense destruction caused by the storm as well as the state neglect, which greatly exacerbated the impacts of the storm. Katrina claimed at least 1,800 lives, and left lasting impacts on the city. 80% of the city of New Orleans was flooded and 850,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, for those who lost their jobs or didn’t have insurance the recovery continues till today.

Though levees constructed following Hurricane Katrina are seen as a possible barrier against any large-scale destruction, the administration in the region had already evacuated thousands of people days in advance. There are still hundreds of people who are trapped inside their houses in the area. Some posted distress messages on social media on Sunday and Monday and were expected to be evacuated or expect relief.    

President Joe Biden issued emergency declarations for Mississippi and Louisiana. 

The White House stated on Sunday that 2,000 emergency workers to the region had been deployed. The Red Cross said that shelters to house as many as 16,000 people have been prepared.