Biden Travels to Hurricane-Hit Louisiana

U.S. President Joe Biden travels to Louisiana Friday to meet with Governor John Bel Edwards and discuss the recovery from Hurricane Ida. The president said Thursday the nation’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies will be working around the clock until the needs of the region are fully met.Officials in the U.S. states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Thursday said at least 46 people died as a result of flash flooding caused by torrential rainfall driven by remnants of Hurricane Ida.Officials in New York City and suburban Westchester County say as many as 16 people died while trapped by flood waters in basement apartments or caught in their cars. At least 23 people died in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said. At least five people died in Pennsylvania and one each in Connecticut and Maryland, officials said.Ida came ashore in Louisiana Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane. What was left of Ida headed for the Northeast, where it combined with a storm front and dumped so much rain Wednesday that the National Weather Service issued its first flash flood emergency for New York City and the neighboring city of Newark, New Jersey. Many streets were quickly turned into rivers, submerging cars and even commuter buses. Most of the city’s subway system was shut down by the flooding.New York Governor Kathy Hochul spoke with reporters after touring the city and noted the record-setting eight centimeters of rain that fell in one hour in New York’s Central Park, breaking a record set just one week earlier. “We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” said Hochul, who became governor last week after former governor Andrew Cuomo resigned. This kind of cataclysmic event, she added, is no longer unforeseeable, and the city and state need to be prepared.Speaking at the White House Thursday, President Biden also pledged emergency assistance to governors of both New Jersey and New York as well as other states in the region and sent his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the aftermath of Ida.Biden noted the region first hit by Ida is a key center of the nation’s oil production and refining infrastructure. He said the government was moving quickly to make sure gasoline continues flowing throughout the country. “We’re all in this together,” Biden said Thursday at the White House. “The nation is here to help.” The president also called extreme storms and wildfires burning in the West a reminder that climate change is here, and he urged Congress to pass his infrastructure bill, which contains measures to address it.Some information in this report was provided by the Associated Press and Reuters.

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