Ida toll rises as 600,000 still lack power
Hurricane Ida’s death toll continues to rise in the northeastern and southern US, while in Louisiana nearly 600,000 customers still lack power a week after the storm made landfall.
Ida slammed into Louisiana on August 29 as a category four hurricane with sustained winds of 240km/h, and the latest death toll there rose to at least 13 people on Sunday.
The storm weakened as it moved north but still unleashed flash flooding on the east coast that killed at least 50 more people, according to updated numbers on Sunday.
Ida’s record-breaking rainfall of almost eight centimetres an hour on Wednesday, recorded in New York City’s Central Park, sent walls of water cascading through businesses, public transportation systems and 1200 homes, causing more than $US50 million in damages, Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“The human toll was tremendous,” said Hochul, recounting a trip to East Elmhurst in the city borough of Queens to assess the devastation.
“One woman wept in my arms, an 89-year-old woman. She had nothing left after living in that home for over 40 years.”
New York’s governor had previously secured an emergency disaster declaration from President Joe Biden and on Sunday signed paperwork to request related federal money to cover housing.
New York had 17 confirmed deaths, four in Westchester County and the remainder in New York City, where nearly all the victims were trapped in illegal basement apartments that are among the last remaining affordable options for low-income residents in the area.
In New Jersey, there were 27 confirmed storm deaths and four people still missing.
Other storm deaths were reported in Connecticut with at least one dead, Pennsylvania with at least four dead and Maryland with at least one dead.
Louisiana’s governor on Saturday increased the number of storm deaths in his Gulf Coast state to 13.
Amid stifling heat and humidity, more than 591,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity as of Sunday, according to PowerOutage.com. About 1.2 million had originally lost power.
Ida also paralysed US Gulf of Mexico oil production, with more than 80 per cent of crude oil and natural gas output suspended on Sunday.
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