“I’m just wondering where the help is,” St. Charles Parish resident Eric Mertz said Friday. “I don’t have air conditioning. No lights. I had Covid last year. I was in the ICU for 14 days, and I’m on oxygen (treatments now). And I don’t have no electricity — it’s rough.”
In Queens, New York, those impacted by the storm were seeking resources to help in the recovery Sunday. Some needed help getting their utilities back, some needed help with the water damage and others needed assistance with the emotional traumas.
“If you drive around Queens, it looks like a bomb went off. Everybody’s personal belongings are out on the street and we’ve seen what it looks like down south after a hurricane. This is what Queens looks like today. It’s horrible,” Queens resident Barbara Amarantinis told CNN.
“This is the crisis of our generation, these impacts that we are seeing from climate change, and we have to act now to try to protect against the future risks that we are going to face,” Criswell said during an interview on Fox Sunday morning.
Hundreds of thousands without electricity in Louisiana
In Louisiana, not only was the damage from the storm severe, but the impact on utilities has made it even harder for many parts of the state to recover. The biggest challenge is with the lack of electricity.
Portions of Jefferson Parish experienced “more busted power poles (and) down utility lines than we’ve had in history” due to Hurricane Ida, said a Saturday update from Parish Councilman Dominick Impastato.
“There’s not a neighborhood that’s been spared, there’s not a street that’s been spared, there’s not a neighborhood that doesn’t have a massive amount of split power poles,” said Impastato.
The lack of power has led to cascading infrastructure issues: a shortage of fuel, lack of water pressure and problems at water treatment plants. Hospitals and some homes and businesses have tried to rely on generators, but that poses its own challenges, said Joe Valiente, Emergency Management Director of Jefferson Parish.
“Right now, our government and our response capabilities are on life support because we rely totally on generated power. And of course to have generators, you have to have fuel,” Valiente told CNN. “So fuel has been short because two-thirds of our refinery capabilities were knocked out.”
Those capabilities are coming back online, but for now, the parish has limited water pressure, non-functioning traffic lights and closed stores.
“This area simply is not ready to sustain everyday normal living,” he said.
‘Once-in-a-century storm’ hits the East
Paterson, New Jersey, Mayor André Sayegh lamented the destruction, telling CNN, “As if a once-in-a-century virus wasn’t enough, we had a once-in-a-century storm.”
In Paterson alone, about 300 people have been rescued, almost 100 cars were left abandoned throughout the city and 30 families were seeking refuge at emergency shelters Saturday, Sayegh said.
Many of the efforts at rescue have been strenuous, like helping a man on the banks of the Passaic River near a bridge. Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott described how Paterson’s Metro Urban Strike Team drilled a hole in the concrete bridge, plowing through several layers of rebar and corrugated steel to see through to the bottom of the bridge and eventually pull the man out.
“All while the storm is raging, the winds are raging, and we’re handling a third alarm fire. An ambulance trapped with people. A hundred fifty people calling for help and we’re only 8.4 square miles — that’s a lot going on,” McDermott said commenting on his team’s overall rescue operations.
In Elizabeth, New Jersey, a mother, father, and son died by drowning in their apartment building, officials said.
Rosa Espinal, 72, and her husband Jose Torres, 71, and their 38-year-old son Jose Torres died when more than a dozen feet of water drenched their apartment in a residential complex, city spokesperson Kelly Martins told CNN Friday. Their neighbor, 33-year-old Shakia Garrett, also drowned, Martins said
In New York, the initial assessment of the damage Ida left behind is estimated as at least $50 million, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Displaced New Yorkers will be eligible for temporary housing assistance funds, unemployment assistance, legal services, crisis counseling and home repairs, she said.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Haley Brink, Rick Hall, Jason Hoffman, Sarah Jorgensen, Elizabeth Joseph, Eric Levenson, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Polo Sandoval and Linh Tran contributed to this report.Source link