Biden visits Louisiana to inspect Hurricane Ida damage

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US President Joe Biden traveled to Louisiana on Friday to get a first-hand look at the destruction wrought by Hurricane Ida, the monster storm that devastated the southern portion of the state and left a million people without power.

Biden, in rolled up shirtsleeves and boots, was welcomed at the airport by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who said Thursday that there’s no substitute “for actually being on the ground, speaking with the local officials and seeing with your own eyes the utter devastation that the state of Louisiana has sustained because of Hurricane Ida.”

Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf Coast last weekend and carved a northern path through the eastern United States, culminating in torrential rains and widespread flooding in New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas on Wednesday.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Friday said the state had confirmed an additional two deaths overnight, bringing its total to 25. He said at least six people were still missing, and the death toll would likely climb higher.

The fifth most powerful hurricane to strike the United States came ashore in southern Louisiana on Sunday, knocking out power for more than a million customers and water for another 600,000 people, creating miserable conditions for the afflicted, who were also enduring suffocating heat and humidity.

At least nine deaths were reported in Louisiana, with at least another 46 killed in the Northeast, the Reuters news agency reported. “My message to everyone affected is: ‘We’re all in this together. The nation is here to help,’” Biden said.

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