Evacuees who fled Ida before the storm hammered southern Louisiana are being urged not to return home just yet as the long recovery is only beginning from one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US Gulf Coast.
Three days after the Category 4 hurricane came ashore, more than a million homes and businesses remained without electricity and power utility Entergy Corp warned it may take weeks to restore service in some areas.
The storm killed at least four people and will leave many thousands more in misery as countless homes were destroyed and towns were flooded, evoking memories of Hurricane Katrina, which killed some 1800 and nearly destroyed New Orleans 16 years ago.
Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the US Gulf Coast, knocked out power to over 1 million homes in Louisiana on Monday and prompted rescue operations in flooded communities around New Orleans as the weakening storm churned northward.
Ida made landfall on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina, evoking memories of a disaster that killed more than 1 800 people in 2005 and devastated New Orleans.
By late Monday afternoon, after dumping a deluge of rain in Louisiana and killing at least two people, Ida was downgraded to a tropical depression as its eye crawled through neighboring Mississippi. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said more fatalities were expected in his state.
“We didn’t have another Katrina and that is something that we should be grateful for. However, the impact is absolutely significant,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell told a news conference.
City officials vowed to comb every neighborhood block by block to assess damage and aid the afflicted, seeking to reassure a majority Black city that felt abandoned by the US government after Katrina.
“No one will be left out,” Cantrell said.