President Joe Biden visited Louisiana days after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc in the region, destroying homes and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power for days.
At a briefing with local officials at St. John Parish’s Emergency Operations Center in LaPlace on Friday, Biden said he understood the frustration of many residents with the widespread lack of power.
“There’s nothing political about this. It’s just simply about saving lives and getting people back up and running,” Biden said. “We’re in this together, and so we’re not going to leave any community behind — rural, city, coastal, inland. I promise we’re gonna have your backs until this gets done.”
Five days after the hurricane tore through Louisiana and Mississippi, some 700,000 people are still without power, according to electric company Entergy. Some could remain without electricity for weeks.
The president noted that “things have changed so drastically in terms of the environment,” and called for investments in infrastructure that would be “resilient” to climate change, like building levee systems and putting power lines underground. Such projects would also create “significant, good-paying jobs,” he said.
“It costs a hell of a lot more money, but it also saves a hell of a lot more money,” Biden said of climate-resilient infrastructure. “We could save a whole lot of money, and a whole lot of pain.”
Biden was expected to tour the hard-hit community of LaPlace later on Friday, as well as conduct aerial tours of other storm-ravaged areas and meet with local leaders in Lafourche Parish.
Ida, intensified by climate change, was one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in U.S. history.
After the hurricane’s wreckage in the Gulf Coast, Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm that moved to the Northeast mid-week and killed dozens of people with flash flooding in New York and New Jersey.
At least 61 people across eight states are dead due to Ida, according to ABC News. The true death toll from the storm and its impacts may not be known for weeks.
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