Ida latest: 69 dead in eight states, power slowly returns after storm

(LA.) — The nation is still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Aug. 29 and knocked out power to more than 1 million in Louisiana.

At least 69 people have died due to the storm — which hit Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane — as well as the devastation it left across eight states

In Louisiana, 13 have died due to the storm’s wrath. In the Northeast, at least 52 have died.

President Joe Biden will survey the damage of Ida’s remnants in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.

“Just days after visiting Louisiana to see the damage from the storm there, President Biden will also highlight how one in three Americans live in counties that have been impacted by severe weather events in recent months,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Just over the summer, 100 million Americans have been impacted by extreme weather, obviously in the Northeast, out West with wildfires, and then in the Gulf Coast.”

Biden has touted the extreme weather as a critical reason why Congress should pass his infrastructure package.

Recovery efforts continue in the South, where 60% of the 948,000 Entergy utility customers who lost power finally had it restored, the company said Tuesday.

In Louisiana, 54% of customers who lost power have had lights return, but 322,000 remain with outages, and in New Orleans, 73% of customers who lost power had it restored and 55,000 customers remain in the dark, Entergy said.

A team of 26,000 workers are restoring downed and damaged power lines. However, some hard-hit areas including Lafourche Parish and Plaquemines Parish aren’t forecast to have power restored until Sept. 29, according to the company’s estimation.

In Louisiana and Mississippi, 30,679 poles, 36,469 spans of wire and 5,959 transformers were damaged or destroyed — that’s more than Katrina, Ike, Delta and Zeta combined.

Access to water remains a major problem in the state, with boil water advisories still in place in the parishes of Jefferson, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Tammany, St. John the Baptist, Plaquemines and Tangipahoa.

More rain will is forecast to come down in Louisiana, further inundating the already saturated soil, with temperatures in the upper 80s, according to the National Weather Service.

Tuesday marks the last day for locals to evacuate to Ida shelters in northern Louisiana. Locals in need of shelter can go to one of eight pick-up locations for bus transportation.

About 14,000 people in Lafourche Parish were left homeless after Ida razed through and destroyed 75% of structures there.

“We are working feverishly, as hard as we can to get all people what they need to keep their lives going and to rebuild our community,” Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson said to CNN on Monday.

Nursing home deaths are also a mounting concern in the state.

Among those who died in Louisiana, seven were nursing home residents who were transferred to a warehouse in Independence and later died. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has opened an investigation into the deaths. The Louisiana Health Department is also investigating nursing homes that transferred patients there and ordered all of them to shut down Saturday. Only five of the seven deaths were confirmed by the state to be storm-related.

On Saturday, during wellness checks at eight New Orleans facilities, five nursing home residents were found dead, the city said in a news release. None of those have been confirmed to be storm-related. In response, the city determined all eight facilities were “unfit” and evacuated nearly 600 residents to hospitals and shelters.

Also in Louisiana, at least four people have died and 141 were treated in hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning in the wake of Ida, according to the Louisiana Department of Health, prompting officials to urge the public for safe generator use.

Officials advise placing generators at least 20 feet away from a home and assure all air entry points near the unit and home are properly sealed.

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