Louisiana Struggles from Slow Recovery Post-Ida

Hurricane Ida was a category 4 when it hit Louisiana on Sunday. Since then, New Orleans and its surrounding areas have been devastated by flooding and strong winds; Houma, for example, saw most of its residences completely destroyed as a result of being within Ida’s eye.

As of today, New Orleans is still without power, it is running out of gas, and water and food are becoming scarce. While the City’s mayor and police chief are confident that everything is under control, this is not entirely true, as only parts of the city has power restored, while in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward, the area has been without power since Sunday. Not only do they lack electricity, they also do not have cell reception, meaning if of the folks living in the area needs emergency services, they are not likely to be able to receive them.

There are currently seven known deaths linked to Ida in the tri-state area. Two power company employees died on Tuesday while they were working with downed power lines in Jefferson County in Alabama; the presumed cause of death is carbon monoxide poisoning due to increased use of generator in the area.

As of Wednesday, out of the 985,000 customers in Louisiana, only 11,500 customers have had their electricity restored; Energy, the largest provider of electricity in the state, has confirmed restoration of electricity in neighborhoods including New Orleans East, an impoverished area hit heavily with winds and rain during Ida’s stay. Despite the confirmation of electricity restoration, much of the area remained dark; possible reason having to do with evacuation and empty homes.

The problem for those that stayed in New Orleans area for whatever reason, is that along with the electricity outage, the short supply of gas, food, and water, the heat index was around 100 all week. It is simply too hot, and at night, it is pitch dark. Some of the residents have had to pool their food to share. The residents are concerned that whatever food they did save for the storm might spoil before they are able to obtain more; there is no ice in the area either.

FEMA has sent help to the area and has been shown to be more active in providing assistance than it had during hurricane Katrina. However, FEMA deputy administrator made it clear that FEMA is not a first responder, but a supporter of the state.

Death toll will continue to climb, officials say, and the governor has warned the folks not to return, as the infrastructures are not operating right now. This is true, given that less than 1 percent of the area has electricity, there is no water or food, and there is very little gas.

President Biden plans to visit the area on Friday.

Furthermore, the use of generators may also be causing carbon monoxide poisonings, and residents have been told to stay as far away from generators to prevent getting sick or dying form carbon monoxide that is released through the use of generators.

At the moment, help seems far away, and restoration might not come fast enough for most of these folks. Although slightly better off than during Katrina, Ida has yet again left a big impact on the city and its surrounding areas.

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