Louisiana battles after Hurricane Ida
Residents waded in flood waters after their neighborhood in LaPlace, Louisiana flooded August 30, 2021 in the wake of Hurricane Ida. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images)
First, Esperanza Marie Delgado was hit by a case of COVID-19 so severe that it required a month’s hospitalization. Then came Hurricane Ida.
The Category 4 hurricane hit southern Louisiana on Sunday with winds of 150 mph, leaving more than a million people without power and many communities underwater with catastrophic damage.
Today, Delgado, a 30-year-old single mother and bartender in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, finds herself trapped between two disasters – a global pandemic and the aftermath of a climate change-fueled hurricane – which are aggravated for people with precarious income. While Delgado usually has savings, it all dried up when she was sick with the coronavirus and unable to work. She thinks she caught the virus at work.
“It was not in my cards to spend the little I had to fill up with gasoline to go somewhere where I did not know if I was going to have the money to stay with my children,” he said. Delgado told VICE News.
Now, like many others in the south of the state, Delgado finds himself facing an unknown time with no electricity, which means no air conditioning in the sweltering heat.
Nearly a million Louisianans still had no electricity on Thursday. Telephone service remains spotty in parts of the state. And, while New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell told a press conference on Wednesday that she hoped the power restoration would not last for weeks, as previously feared, Delgado was stuck in miserable conditions with her children, aged 11 and 6.
“I can’t come here for three weeks,” Delgado said, referring to a previous estimate of power restoration given by the utility company Entergy.
With newly constructed sea walls, New Orleans has had it comparatively easy. Officials from the parish of Terrebonne, one of the southernmost regions of the state, notified on twitter wednesday that there is “no shelter, no electricity, very limited resources for food, gas and supplies and absolutely no medical services”, claiming that it was up to residents to assess these risks and re-enter the city. It may take four to five weeks for the power to return, Houma today reported.
Likewise, St. Charles Parish, home to more than 53,000 residents and is part of the greater New Orleans area, said on its official Facebook page that “residents should be prepared to be without power for at least a month”.
And on Tuesday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said when examining the wreckage at LaPlace, just up the Mississippi from New Orleans: he’s ready to receive you.
Cajun Navy Relief President Colleen Udell, who was in the parish town of St. Charles in Luling on Tuesday, told VICE News her disaster response organization saw scattered roof debris, power lines fallen and many houses without generators. Temperatures are expected to climb to 89 degrees on Thursday.
“With the heat warnings coming, it’s hot, humid and sticky,” Udell said.
For those who stayed, “they obviously did not have the means to go out,” she added. A 27-year-old man in Baton Rouge, for example, told The Associated Press he tried to take out a payday loan to afford an evacuation; he was turned down due to his lack of credit history.
“A lot of hotels outside of the region book very, very quickly,” Udell said. “You will see a price increase when you try to get a room. And for some who evacuated, they sat in traffic for hours trying to get out of the way. “
Chanell Fisher, a 46-year-old woman living in New Orleans East, said she was sitting in her car trying to stay cool before her power was restored Wednesday night. She was one of the crowd who couldn’t afford to leave before the storm hit.
Without electricity for days, her family struggled with the high temperatures. Her husband had a stroke and an aneurysm in February, she said. And her daughter is eight months pregnant. Fisher didn’t want to stray too far from the hospital where his daughter was due to give birth soon.
“I have to make sure everything is okay,” said Fisher, who works as a psychiatric technician. “Even with this disaster, I still try to maintain [my husband’s] health, I take his pressure, I take his sugar.
Her neighborhood has been plagued by crime since the storm, she added. She can’t sleep because of this.
“I was just telling my husband today that I really don’t want to be here anymore,” Fisher said, citing the looting and other offenses.
State officials said nearly 200 buses are able to pick up those who have remained in areas without clean water or electricity, according to the New York Times.
Some of those who could not afford an evacuation before Hurricane Ida had moved to the southeastern state after being rendered homeless by last year’s massive hurricane in Lake Charles, a said Jasmine Araujo, founder of Southern Solidarity, based in New York. , a group of organizers helping some 250 homeless people in New Orleans.
This storm, Hurricane Laura, may also have intensified rapidly due to climate change. Warmer ocean water helps storms become more powerful.
“There are people who are used to it, unfortunately,” Araujo said.
Just before Hurricane Ida hit, Araujo said, many homeless people in New Orleans didn’t want to go to local shelters because they didn’t want to be separated from loved ones or pets. company or face super-strict rules. His organization distributed 150 meals on Saturday evening, several hours before the storm hit land, meaning some people were likely to have stayed outside for the duration of the hurricane.
On Monday, his organization cashed in about $ 1,000 so organizers could distribute cash and snacks to homeless people. The organizers also donated clean clothes, as some people were still wet.
“It’s just out of this world that people on the streets are hit by a hurricane. This means they have been outside for hours, just hit by high winds, ”Araujo said. ” It does not mean anything. It is not at all human.
President Joe Biden is expected to travel to Louisiana on Friday to meet with state and local officials. Already, his administration has deployed more than 3,600 Federal Emergency Management Agency employees to Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to help overnight, according to Politico.