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Hurricane Ida Devastates Louisiana

As some go into this Labor day weekend, Grand Isle, Louisiana is left to look back at the direct impact Hurricane Ida left their home in. Grand Isle is a hidden island located along Louisiana’s shoreline; previously known for their abundant ecosystem. Wildlife could be seen circling people’s homes, swimming in flooded waters, this past week, due to the hurricane. Tropical Hurricane Ida began to develop starting Aug. 26. As it progressed from 45 mph up it rapidly grew to 150 mph, classified as a Category 4, a system used to measure the speed of winds caused by a hurricane. Many families are left in the ruins the 150 mph winds caused, which falls just a few miles short of what would be considered a Category 5 hurricane. 

The destruction of Hurricane Ida was predicted to span past 200 miles of Louisiana’s coastline. Meteorologists describe the escalation of the storm as an “explosive intensification,” according to Time. Places such as New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania were touched by the destruction of Ida. Officials accounting for at least 13 deaths in New York, 25 in New Jersey with 6 people missing and 2 in Mississippi. An extension of warnings was also given to the states of Alabama and Ohio.  

Hurricane Ida caused an uproar of chaos as it swift through the Northeast. A total death toll of 46 individuals have been accounted for so far, according to CNN sources. Many of whom were “overtaken by the water,” Gov. Phil Murphy states. Tasks force, rescuers and local residents lend hands to those whose lives have been affected by Ida. In the affected areas, organizations go house to house to check for unaccounted victims, individuals trapped in basements, cleaning up remnants of destroyed buildings, and ferrying people from their flooded homes. New York Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said that 835 people were rescued from the subway systems alone. 

Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng spoke to Jefferson Parish Councilman Ricky Templet, who described the aftermath of the hurricane in Grand Isle as “uninhabitable.” Sheng says 100% of buildings have been damaged. Pictures of the destruction caused by the storm have circulated the media, showing devastating images of buildings collapsed, flooded, homes with roofs completely torn off, the island being left in shambles. The only inhabitants to remain on the island are the police chief, the mayor, and first responders. Parish officials have been trying to connect with local residents, advising them when it’s safe to return back to Grand Isle. Unfortunately, the damage of the island is so severe that officials suggest it could take weeks to recover. Residents who chose to stay in Jefferson Parish are left with non functioning electricity, broken water and sewer systems as well as adhering to a nighttime curfew.

The governor of Lousianna, John Bel Edwards, announced to the public that the state planned on offering extra assistance to evacuees. He made reference to past experiences of Louisanna finding 20,000 rooms for individuals who were affected by last year’s hurricane season. Although this year faces new challenges with “the realities of COVID,” Gov. Edwards states. Edwards offers the solution of placing evacuees in hotel rooms to avoid overpopulated mass shelters. Shelters are not requiring proof of vaccination but to keep up with the threat of COVID, shelters are still continuing to take measures for public safety. Shelters are taking people’s temperature 2-3 times a day, practicing social distancing, and maintaining masks policies. Anyone who refuses to comply with these guidelines are put in isolated areas to reduce an outbreak in these facilities.

On Aug. 27, President Joe Biden declared an emergency due to the disaster. The official website for the White House, states that additional assistance was ordered from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA will use its resources and equipment to help lessen the impact from the hurricane; this includes direct federal assistance at 75 percent of cost share.

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