U.S. President Joe Biden arrived Friday in Louisiana to assess the heavy damage Hurricane Ida inflicted on the southern part of the state before carving a path of destruction north through the eastern part of the country.
In LaPlace, local officials briefed the president about the storm that left about 1 million people without power and 600,000 others without water.
“I promise we’re going to have your back,” Biden said at the outset of the briefing, which included Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.
"This storm has been incredible, not only here but all over the East Coast," Biden said during the meeting. "I know you've got to be frustrated about the restoration of power."
The president also flew over hard-hit areas including Lafourche Parish, where the parish president said one-fourth of the homes in his community of 100,000 people had been destroyed or heavily damaged.
Biden noted Thursday that the Gulf region first hit by Ida is a center of the nation’s oil production and refining infrastructure. Most of the areas refining capacity was knocked offline and Governor Edwards said government fuel shipments would be among the list of needs he plans to present to President Biden.
Biden said Thursday the government was moving quickly to make sure gasoline continues flowing throughout the country.
Ida came ashore in Louisiana Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, the fifth strongest to hit the U.S., killing at least nine people before traveling north through the eastern U.S., triggering torrential rains and widespread flooding Wednesday in New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas.
The president said Thursday the nation’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies will be working around the clock until the needs of the region are fully met.
Officials in the U.S. states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Thursday said at least 48 people died as a result of flash flooding caused by torrential rainfall driven by remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The president also called extreme storms and wildfires burning in the West a reminder that climate change is here, and he urged Congress to pass his infrastructure bill, which contains measures to address it.
Some information in this report was provided by the Associated Press and Reuters.